What are Autobiographical Memories? A reply to Bauer, Baker-Ward, Krøjgaard, Peterson, and Wang (2019)
Morrison, Catriona M.
Conway, Martin A.
Howe, Mark L.
Bauer, et al. (2019) argue that Akhtar et al. (2018) state that infants and young children have no memory. But what we actually argued is that infants and young children do not in the main have conceptually rich autobiographical memories comparable to those of adults. What infants and young children do have is the ability to retain some fragments of previous experience – early episodic memory. One powerful implication of this is that when adults provide conceptually rich accounts of memories dating to approximately the age of 3 years and younger it is most probably the case that, in many instances (estimated at about 40% in Akhtar, et al.), these are adult embellishments of poorly remembered details, facts told them about their childhood, family stories, and so on. They are what we termed fictional first memories.