Previous posts and comments have got me thinking again about memory and I've looked up more research on the subject.
Found a great abstract by Rachael Collie and Harlene Hayne at the Psychology Department of the University of Otago..Dunedin, New Zealand.
Some of the things that stuck out to me:
Over the past 20 years, an increasing number of researchers have argued that memory is not a unitary process, but rather is comprised of two or more neural systems that serve different functions and operate according to different principles (for recent reviews, see Eichenbaum, 1997; Schacter & Tulving, 1994; Squire, 1992a, 1992b)This explains why the memory is not intact at birth because even though some of the memory is mature, not all is in place to form an explicit memory.
It has been argued that the memory skills of human infants are initially restricted to procedural memory but that by approximately 8 to 9 months of age the declarative memory system matures (Nadel & Zola-Morgan, 1984; Nelson, 1995; Schacter & Moscovitch, 1984).It comes down to this.... Until 6-9 months of age (there is some argument between these ages) there is not the ability to have explicit memory... a memory of a face, smell, words.... There is a familiarization about the soothing nature of the mother's voice, smell ....but not a real, solid memory.
Declarative memory (which is fact storing) emerges at approximately8–9 months of age (Nelson, 1995).
Recent research, however, has yielded evidence of deferred imitation by 6-month-olds after the
same delay (Barr, Dowden, & Hayne, 1996)
Here is another study from New Zealand
This stuff fascinates me...
There's another one Here