It has a name. I thought it was called 'collective' memory. .. But I cant find any articles or information about it.. So I guess it has a different name.

There were a few cases where children were successful in recalling the memories of their past ancestors.

How is that type of memory called? and are there articles about it?


For the skeptics, watch the few first minutes of this doc..(or all of it)


I did learn in my first psychology lessons about that memory. I cant remember wellthe case study that I studied.. but it involved a non-speaking German woman who after being hypnotized was able to talk German and recall her past life.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's not clear what phenomenon you are interested in. There is an area of research on collective memory, but it doesn't have anything to do with recalling the memories of ancestors (which sounds an awful lot like a bogus ESP-type phenomenon). Can you clarify your question by providing some examples, perhaps? $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ I had a go at answering, but I have a feeling my answer isn't really what you were getting at @XWorm? $\endgroup$
    – queenslug
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 12:45
  • $\begingroup$ True, queenslug.see update with a link $\endgroup$
    – XWorm
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 13:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Fyi, I can't seem to open the YouTube link in your update. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 26, 2015 at 2:16

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure about children recalling memories of their ancestors, but there is such a thing as Genetic Memory.

In one study mice who were trained to fear a specific smell passed on their trained aversion to their descendant. Who were then extremely sensitive to, and fearful of the same smell, even though they had never encountered it, nor been trained to fear it.

We found that the behavior and structural alterations were inherited and were not socially transmitted from the older generation.


Dias, B. G., & Ressler, K. J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature neuroscience, 17(1), 89-96.

However I can't really find any evidence of this existing in humans.

  • $\begingroup$ This answer has nothing or not much to do with memory. see update! $\endgroup$
    – XWorm
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ How many generations of mice did it take? Were all the descendants fearful of the smell? $\endgroup$
    – Ivo3185
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 0:26

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