Remembering Early Experiences during Childhood
What happens to early memories of childhood trauma? Do children remember stressful and traumatic experiences vividly throughout childhood or are such experiences as likely to be forgotten as more mundane experiences? Because it is sometimes claimed that adults are able to recover long-forgotten memories, the fate of early childhood memories, especially of traumatic experiences, has become a matter of considerable controversy. Until recently, most of what was known about memory for childhood trauma focused on adults’ memories of their early experiences, and relatively little was known about the time course of forgetting during childhood. Bridging the temporal gap between childhood memory and later adult recall may, however, be a fruitful approach to understanding the mechanisms by which some memories are forgotten whereas others are retained into adult years (Goodman, Quas, Batterman-Faunce, Riddlesburger, & Kuhn, 1994). Understanding how children remember stressful or traumatic events is also of considerable practical importance, for example, when children are interviewed in clinical and legal contexts and are asked to recount their past experiences.
KeywordsTraumatic Event Free Recall Child Sexual Abuse Traumatic Experience Childhood Trauma
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