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Memories May Begin at Age 2

Jon Whittle

What are your earliest memories, and how old were you? The conventional wisdom is that kids can’t remember much before age 3 or 4. However, a new study indicates that some children have the ability to recall events that happened as early as age 2.

Plus: Study Says at Least 2 Years Between Kids Makes Them Smarter

The study, done by researchers at University of Otago in New Zealand, and published in the journal Child Development, devised a “magical shrinking box” that appeared to shrink toys. Kids 27 to 51 months were trained on it for two days, and then were asked about it on the third day. They also received a medal for participation. Six years later, they were shown a medal as a cue and asked if they remembered it. Interestingly, it wasn’t necessarily the older kids who had better recall; in fact two two-year-olds remembered the “magic” box. The common denominator among kids with good recall was that they spent a lot of time talking about it with their parents shortly afterward.

Plus: Study Says Two-Daughter Families Are Happiest

What’s your earliest memory? Do you think your two-year-old is forming long-term memories yet?