One of my favorite episodes of my favorite futurist anthology, Black Mirror, has to be The Entire History of You (season 1 – ep. 3). In the “near future” (the setting for every Black Mirror scenario), a neural implant allows a person to view every memory they have ever had via their smart device. They can also screen cast their memories as a video feed to anyone. Of course, as with any episode, something goes wrong and a cautionary tale is born.
But what if you could regain your memories from earliest childhood? As Futurism’s June Javelosa writes, your toddler memories are still stuck in some back bedroom closet of your brain but you cannot currently access them due to what scientists call infantile amnesia.
However, new research could lead to a Remembrance of Diaper Days Past.
“[Researchers] found that while young rats could recognize a particular section of a box with a shock, this memory could disappear within just a day. In older rats, the memory of the shock was more lasting. The right trigger however could prompt the young rats to remember the shock, implying that we don’t lose the memories, but they actually get stored somewhere in our brain.”
The brain’s archiving of early memories is thought to be related to a protein called BDNF. Research shows that a boosted injection in young mice helps them retain and access early memories.
BDNF is also an important protein in maintaining adult mental health. As Mental Health Daily points out: “Low levels of BDNF are often problematic and have been linked to: Alzheimer’s, accelerated aging, poor neural development, neurotransmitter dysfunction, obesity, depression, and even schizophrenia.”
It’s too early to tell if boosting Junior’s Flintstones vitamins with BDNF will actually be of benefit; but Javelosa points out that having access to Our Lil’ Memories could be beneficial. “What we experience during this stage in our lives greatly influences our behavior as adults,” she writes.
“The result of this study could be significant for our understanding of how human memory works.”