Are our early memories real? 我們早期的記憶是真的嗎?

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你最珍視的一段童年記憶是什麼?一些研究的結果可能會讓你感到驚訝:人們早期的記憶不一定準確。這究竟是為什麼?本期 “隨身英語” 節目探討童年早期記憶的真實性。

詞彙: memories 記憶

What’s the first thing you remember doing? It could be playing with your friends at school, or going to a birthday party and eating amazing cake. Most of us have a treasured early memory of our childhood, but can we really believe those vivid memories? Did those special moments really happen – or did we make them up?

It’s a strange concept to grasp, but according to research, about four out of 10 of us invent our first childhood memory. Rather than having experienced something, we could have fabricated a fake memory from videos or photos we’ve seen. We could have been influenced by a story recounted to us that spurs our minds on to adopt someone else’s memory as our own. What it means is that memories of our younger years, especially before the age of two, may be inaccurate, or entirely false.

But why don’t we have clear memories from that age? Well, our ability to retain memories from before the age of two isn’t great. While at that age we do have short-term memories, according to Catherine Loveday, an expert in autobiographical memory at the University of Westminster, the memories that infants make are not long-lasting. This is possibly due to the rapid creation of brain cells in our early years. Some scientists also believe that as we get older, our childhood memories fade and after the age of seven, we get some kind of ‘childhood amnesia’.

So why do we create fake memories? Some experts believe that there is a clear desire for a sense of self and having a cohesive story of our existence. Creating memories can fill in the gaps – giving us a more complete structure for our early lives. As we get older, we want to have a complete picture of our entire lives.

So, the next time someone says they have a clear memory from when they were one – or even before – just remember that while it could be true, there’s a chance they just invented it at some point in their lives.

詞彙表

treasured 珍視的,珍重的
vivid 鮮明的,生動的
concept 概念
grasp 理解,領會
fabricate 編造
recount 敘述
spur on 促使,激勵
adopt 採納,採用
inaccurate 不準確的
clear 清晰的
retain 記住
short-term memory 短期記憶
autobiographical 自傳體的,與個人生活事件緊密相關的
long-lasting 持久的
brain cell 腦細胞
fade 逐漸被遺忘
amnesia 失憶
cohesive 完整連貫的

測驗與練習

1.  閱讀課文並回答問題。

1. What’s the proportion of people who may have invented their first memory?

2. Why might we not be able to create long-lasting memories as a child?

3. By what age do some experts think we get ‘childhood amnesia’?

4. Why might someone want to create childhood memories?

5. What does the article suggest we should do when someone says they have a clear memory from when they were one?

2.  選擇意思恰當的單詞或片語來完成下列句子。

1. I love this toy. It was one of my most _______ possessions when I was a kid.

treasure                 treasured              treasures               treasuring

2. I think that we need to _______ new strategies for dealing with the problem.

recount                  fade                       adopt                     concept

3. Don’t make _______ stories! Tell the truth.

up                          out                        down                      in

4. All of my memories seem to have _______ over time.

faded                     grasped                 treasured                adopted

5. Why don’t you _______ that story about your first bike to us?

recount                  clear                      amnesia                 retain

答案

1. 閱讀課文並回答問題。 

1. What’s the proportion of people who may have invented their first memory?
Around four in 10 of us may have faked our first memory.

2. Why might we not be able to create long-lasting memories as a child?
The rapid creation of brain cells being created in our early years could impact on our ability to create long-term memories.

3. By what age do some experts think we get ‘childhood amnesia’?
‘Childhood amnesia’ occurs by the age of seven.

4. Why might someone want to create childhood memories?
To give their life story a greater sense of cohesion.

5. What does the article suggest we should do when someone says they have a clear memory from when they were one?
Remember that while it could be true, there’s a chance they just invented it. 

2.  選擇意思恰當的單詞或片語來完成下列句子

1. I love this toy. It was one of my most treasured possessions when I was a kid.

2. I think that we need to adopt new strategies for dealing with the problem.

3. Don’t make up stories! Tell the truth.

4. All of my memories seem to have faded over time.

5. Why don’t you recount that story about your first bike to us?