• Lost Memories: Exploring Childhood Amnesia and Nostalgia Through Autoethnographic Research

      Lizardi, Ryan; Thesis Advisor; Stam, Kathryn; Second Reader; Danielle, Pastore (2021-04)
      Memory, especially at a young age, is unstable. Memories can easily be remapped and misremembered. Generally, memory retention follows a predictable pattern, known as the reminiscence bump, and memory retention reaches its peak around twenty years old. While memory retention does increase exponentially as a child ages, there is a tendency for early childhood memories to vanish - a phenomenon known formally as childhood amnesia. Photographs and videos can act as memory aids to assist recall, but can lead to misremembering. People also view photographs and videos (especially physical versions such as photo albums) as memory storage devices, and often experience a great deal of nostalgia when flipping through and reminiscing. However, just as society experienced a shift from analogue to digital film and video, users shifted their intentions of photography from memory to communication. To further explore these topics I performed extensive autoethnographic research. In the hopes of shedding light on lost or forgotten memories and to better understand personal nostalgia, I had twenty-eight rolls of undeveloped childhood film developed, which I then personally scanned. Additionally, I digitally transferred and watched eighty-six never-before-seen childhood home video cassettes. Using both written, photo, and video footage-based context clues, I assembled a video timeline to represent my lost memories. Video Link: https://youtu.be/7OCfjgm1YkU