Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back to Memory

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

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

"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 "


Yes interesting.A baby is in utero for 9 months and it takes about 9 months for a baby to beging to have the abilty to chew food, sit up, crawl, etc. Total span of about 18 months.

Many naturalists believe a baby's identity is that of it's mother from in utero until about 9 months of age when the above you have referrenced kicks in.

Which is why a baby can experience a good deal of grief when seperated from it's mother at birth. Simply put the two are a unit of one for 18 months.

When declaritive memory takes over, the baby is realizing it is a person unto him/herself.

Fascinating indeed.

MaeDay

petunia said...

Mae, I have to disagree with you here. I think because the memory is not in tact... a newborn can only have the sorts of memories that are instinct... suckling for instance. there, however chemical releases from mother's feelings/emotions in-utero and an infant's brain can be negatively affected by that as well as physical and sexual abuse as a newborn (that part of the brain is in tact at birth) but there could be no actual memory of it(thank goodness).

Anonymous said...

It's called imprinting and yes infants do remember/retain it for....good and bad.

MaeDay

petunia said...

Imprinting is very controversial in the scientific community...
it is usually referred to in psychobiology (psychobabble as I call it)as a form of learning in which a very young animal fixes its attention on the first object with which it has visual, auditory, or tactile experience and thereafter follows that object.
I'll have to say--- humans are more complex than these creatures that imprinting has been associated with. If you read the studies about human memory and development you will see that.
This drivel all goes back to Attachment theory (see how there is "theory" on the end of that) and Harlow's monkeys... but even they would give their attention to anything - even a terrycloth surrogate. Again, we are more complex than monkeys.... I'm sorry I still disagree.

Anonymous said...

Think as you wish....but I believe in a God who honors His creation. Imprinting, bonding, attqchment , they are all within His design of conception, birth family design. We all descend from a specific lineage and reflect the traits, the emotional and physical characteristics of our own people.

You don't realy believe God creates a blank slate baby do you? Think about John leaping in his mother's womb when pregnant Mary came to be with Elizabeth. Why does God go into such detail into genealogy, the begats. If you read them you'll note God doesn't leave out mentioning adoptions, half siblings . etc. He records the facts as is, however a family was made....no doctoring up records or relationships.

It's fine to disagree but it seems to me you disagree from fear not fact. Don't be so afraid of biology and blood ties. God created it for good reason as...." His ways are perfect."

MaeDay

petunia said...

Mae,

I also believe in a divine creator who has provided us with everything we need to live a life honoring to Him. If you look at Jesus's life you can see He was seen as a blood line of Joseph and he had no blood relation to Joseph at all....
Lines are incredibly important and if a person adopted a child in biblical times they were considered part of their line and entitled to every bit of ownership in that family. Also, you could deny a biological child but once you adopted a child you could never deny them....
This all goes to show you a divine plan that God had set in motion to show that we are "adopted Jews", grafted into the family of God.
.
It's interesting that the part of the memory we need for remembering things like the trauma of childbirth (and other traumas that small infants suffered until modern science) is not in tact... A God thing for sure. God also told the Jews not to circumcise until day 7 (that's when the endorphins kick in). He also had Paul write "a glass of wine for the stomach's sake and we know now that it aids in digestion.
There are many things that we learn from the bible.....

Anonymous said...

Petunia,

Jesus is of the blood line of David through his mother Mary. That is why twoe geneaolgy's are listed in Matthew.(Joseph's and Mary) Both Joseph and Mary were of the bloodline of David. Get out a good concordance and a good commentary and read/study the begats, genealogy's.

Do you realise a graft has it's own distinct line and can be identified and removed from the original graft? The two don't just forever mesh into one......

Did you know there is not one adopted person un the bible whose bloodline is not recorded?

Why would God pay attention to such details if they were not important? ;)

MaeDay

Tishslp said...

"It's fine to disagree but it seems to me you disagree from fear not fact."

Maeday,

How curious. Where do you see Petunia acting scared?

petunia said...

I have questioned this before myself...I found this and it is very interesting "Our assertion that Luke gives Mary's blood line stumbles on a serious difficulty. The parent of Jesus that he explicitly places in the line of descent is not Mary, but Joseph (Luke 3:23). Neither custom nor any other constraint prohibited Luke from including Mary in the genealogy. Matthew mentions Mary as well as several other female ancestors of Jesus (Matt. 1:3, 5, 5, 6, 16). Moreover, a reader coming to the genealogy in Luke without any preconception that it was Mary's would naturally take it to be Joseph's. The plain sense of the words is that Jesus was the supposed son of Joseph, who was the actual son of Heli, and so on. In the list of ancestors during the postexilic period, we find further evidence they belong to Joseph's line. It was the custom to name a male child after one of his forefathers (10). For example, in this same postexilic list we find "Mattathias" twice (vv. 25-26). Also, we find two Josephs preceding the Joseph who was the legal father of Jesus (vv. 24, 26). Thus, the third Joseph seems a proper member of the genealogy."
It was noted that Jesus was the descendant of a king through both Mary and Joseph (with Joseph having to actual blood tie).
Josephus and other historians in biblical times have noted that adoptees have the same rights (even more) than actual biological children.
Sometimes you need to read things other than the bible to see what the history was at the time so you can understand better the context in which they were writing.
.
As far as grafting is concerned, I am not saying anyone has to deny a decent....Once a tree is grafted to another - they are together, melded together for the life of the tree...I am not being so literal that we are talking about future generations, come on.
.
In any case, farming things were talked about in the bible because it's what they knew. Grapes were abundant and most people knew about farming grapes and grafting. As far as "V. vinifera and V. silvestris (types of grapes)---they cross readily, and are natural hybrids"...so the theory doesn't hold true anyway.
I really think it's funny how people try so hard to bring up things to discredit adoption. It's been happening for thousands of years successfully.... For the small percentage of adoptees who are upset and angry, I am sorry for them but they need to stop trying to convince the world it's something bad.

Tishslp said...

P,

I think this is such an interesting post. As a therapist who's done a lot of memory work with patients (but in my case they were adults), I find the whole anatomy and physiology interconnectedness in memory absoloutely fascinating.

Maeday mentioned fear. Yep, there's loss in adoption and also there's fear. Adoptive parents may fear that their children will not love them if they "know their roots" and biological parents can fear they will be relegated to forgotten memories if they don't push, push, push for recognition. Fear seems to be what drives the vicious attacks on others that permeate the adoption community.

IMO, it's not whether you are fearful or not that is the problem. Fear is a normal human reaction to a perceived threat. It's the people who take their fear and either:

a. use it to guide their actions. An example would be a birthfamily who tries to talk all expectant moms out of placing because THEY had a bad experience with adoption. Or an adoptive mom who closes an open adoption because she's heard of "pushy" bmoms who try to "co-parent".

OR

b. take that fear and, in an attempt to overcome it, go crazy overboard in the other direcetion to "prove" they've overcome it. A good example is the birthparent who opposes reforms in adoption because it's "no big deal" to place your child. Another example would be the adoptive parent who becomes agressively reform-driven to protect birthmoms from the "horrors" of the current adoption system, even while planning another adoption.

The people who seem to make the most difference, to me, are those who say "Yeah, I'm scared, but it's not all about ME....I need to go out and not let fear interpret this situation for me. I need to find unbiased and reliable information so I can make an informed decision." These seem to be the people who can have the most rational discussions with others without letting the loss or the fear blind them.

petunia said...

Tish,
Mae must be new to this blog or she would know from my past posts I'm not afraid of any of this. I want my daughter to meet her aparents after she's an adult. It satisfied my curiosity and she may feel the same way, wanting to at least know what they look like (even though I have pics from the adoption process, she will look different).
I can see where some aparents may be afraid because they have never been around any of this and adoption is such a different experience for them.
What's scary is if they are afraid and looking at blogs for information---I hope they see mine before they see all the anti-adoption blogs...shoot, it may make them need therapy! lol

Anonymous said...

Petunia.


******The plain sense of the words is that Jesus was the supposed son of Joseph, who was the actual son of Heli, and so on. In the list of ancestors during the postexilic period, we find further evidence they belong to Joseph's line. It was the custom to name a male child after one of his forefathers ..******

Read another Bible commentary (perhaps Matthhew Henry's)many theologians do not agree that HELI was Joseph's father but rather conclude Heli is Mary's father. Matthew's records Joseph's lineage..Luke records Mary's lineage.

Tell me Petunia who is Jesus father, Josepgh or God? And why is it important that God tells us Joseph is the adoptive father....think!

*****I really think it's funny how people try so hard to bring up things to discredit adoption. It's been happening for thousands of years successfully....******

And unsuccessfully.....It's the child that matters, not the institution. Don't defend adoption, defend your child. If your child needs to know her roots (before she's 21) for heaven's sake take action don't be so pro adoption it keeps you from being pro child.

MaeDay

PS...genealogy who's does your child have your's or her family of origin. Just as you don't care for your biological French roots, your daughter may not care for your adoptive roots. Works both ways you know.

Tishslp said...

P,

LOL, no kidding!

I agree that Mae probably doesn't know you; she may not even know that this is "been there, done that" stuff for you.

Heather said...

I didn't understand it either until I gave birth to my own children. The connection is difficult to describe to someone who has never experienced it but it's strong and it's most definitely there. However heavily invested you are in denying the connection between the mother and child and the lasting effects of separation of the two, the further into denial you sink.
My babies 'remember' with every cell of their bodies who their mommy is and I thank god we were never separated. Babies that need special care and are put in incubaters have been studied and show distress at being separated too. The effects are lasting.

I have to disagree that anyone who has a different view is an 'anti' I'm sure you will try to dismiss everything I say and perhaps put it down to a bad experience with adoption. But I had no bad experience, I just want to find the truth of my origins. I guess I'm 'anti' closed records but then I think you are too, right?

Cheers
H

Julie said...

Hmmmm.... according to your selective assessment of memory development, it would then be perfectly okay to sexually abuse an infant before the explicit memory is mature. And, there would also be no need to treat that child for early trauma either, since they would have no memory of the event(s).

Based on your assessment, Petunia, I wonder why a 23 year-old virgin (who was sexually abused at 6 months) would have a psychotic episode during the consummation of her marriage...

Do you have any Petunia theories on that?

petunia said...

Julie, if you reviewed the discussion, there are different parts of the brain that are developed enough at birth that "record" trauma such as sexual, or physical abuse...I guess because these may be due to pain. I have mentioned it before---even though they may not know why they have difficulty (because the memory was not fully developed)they will....I agree with that.