Infants form memories early in life, but also forget

San Francisco: Adults thinking back rarely remember anything before pre-school, but infants are forming memories. They simply forget.

In fact, babies' rate of forgetting is even faster than that of adults, Patricia J. Bauer of Duke University said at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was part of a panel discussing "infant amnesia," the inability to remember events early in life.

The ability to form memories depends on a network of structures in the brain and these develop at different times, Dr. Bauer said. As the networks come together between six months and 18 months of life, researchers see increased efficiency in the ability to form short- and long-term memory, she said. From age six months to two years, memory increases from about 24 hours to a year, she said.