Childhood amnesia refers to the inability of children and adults to recall events that took place during their infancy. Freud originally coined the term on the basis of his clinical experience; subsequent empirical investigations have confirmed many of Freud’s original observations, but not his explanation for the phenomenon. For a better understanding of the infantile amnesia origin we need to focus our attention on the recent concept of memory, on its development, from the onset of memory in the early infancy, to the following development of autobiographical memory. However, this coincides with Freud’s hypothesis that childhood amnesia is not a unitary phenomenon, but rather it consists of at least two separate phases. Finally, childhood amnesia can be considered paradigmatic in the relationship between Neurosciences and Psychoanalysis.
Keywords: Memory, memory development, childhood amnesia, neural development, infants