The relationship between perceptual experience and memory can seem to pose a chal- lenge for conceptualism, the thesis that perceptual experiences require the actualization of conceptual capacities. Since subjects can recall features of past experiences for which they lacked corresponding concepts at the time of the original experience, it would seem that a subject’s conceptual capacities do not impose a limit on what he or she can experience perceptually. But this conclusion ignores the fact that concepts can be composed (...) of other simpler concepts that a subject possessed earlier, and that de- monstrative capacities can explain how a subject can experience a particular feature of her environment, even when she lacks a fully general concept for that feature. Using these resources, conceptualism can explain the relation between perceptual experience and memory. Nevertheless, a puzzle remains for the defender of conceptualism. A cer- tain view about the relation between perceptual experience and mental imagery in epi- sodic memory – that imagery in recall matches the experience retained in it – can make it difficult to understand how conceptualism could be true. For if a subject’s conceptual capacities determine what the phenomenology of an experience (or memory of it) is like, then one would expect a perceptual experience and its recall in memory to differ in phenomenology if they involve different concepts. In this essay, I solve this puzzle for conceptualism by undermining the assumption that there is a match between im- agery in episodicmemory and the phenomenal character of experience. (shrink)
Difficulties remembering one’s own experiences via episodicmemory may affect the ability to imagine other people’s experiences during theory of mind (ToM). Previous work shows that the same set of brain regions recruited during tests of episodicmemory and future imagining are also engaged during standard laboratory tests of ToM. However, hippocampal amnesic patients who show deficits in past and future thinking, show intact performance on ToM tests, which involve unknown people or fictional characters. Here we (...) present data from a developmental amnesic person (H.C.) and a group of demographically matched controls, who were tested on a naturalistic test of ToM that involved imagining other people’s experiences in response to photos of personally familiar others (‘pToM’ condition) and unfamiliar others (‘ToM’ condition). We also included a condition that involved recollecting past experiences in response to personal photos (‘EM’ condition). Narratives were scored using an adapted autobiographical interview scoring procedure. Due to the visually rich stimuli, internal details were further classified as either descriptive (i.e., details that describe the visual content depicted in the photo) or elaborative (i.e., details that go beyond what is visually depicted in the photo). Relative to controls, H.C. generated significantly fewer elaborative details in response to the pToM and EM photos and an equivalent number of elaborative details in response to the ToM photos. These data converge with previous neuroimaging results showing that the brain regions underlying pToM and episodicmemory overlap to a greater extent than those supporting ToM. Taken together, these results suggest that detailed episodic representations supported by the hippocampus may be pivotal for imagining the experiences of personally familiar, but not unfamiliar, others. (shrink)
Memory disorders are among the most frequent and most debilitating cognitive impairments following acquired brain damage. Cognitive remediation strategies attempt to restore lost memory capacity, provide compensatory techniques or teach the use of external memory aids. Memory rehabilitation has strongly been influenced by memory theory, and the interaction between both has stimulated the development of techniques such as spaced retrieval, vanishing cues or errorless learning. These techniques partly rely on implicit memory and therefore enable (...) even patients with dense amnesia to acquire new information. However, knowledge acquired in this way is often strongly domain-specific and inflexible. In addition, individual patients with amnesia respond differently to distinct interventions. The factors underlying these differences have not yet been identified. Behavioural management of memory failures therefore often relies on a careful description of environmental factors and measurement of associated behavioural disorders such as unawareness of memory failures. The current evidence suggests that patients with less severe disorders benefit from self-management techniques and mnemonics whereas rehabilitation of severely amnesic patients should focus on behaviour management, the transmission of domain-specific knowledge through implicit memory processes and the compensation for memory deficits with memory aids. (shrink)
Episodicmemory often is conceptualized as a uniquely human system of long-term memory that makes available knowledge accompanied by the temporal and spatial context in which that knowledge was acquired. Retrieval from episodicmemory entails a form of first–person subjectivity called autonoetic consciousness that provides a sense that a recollection was something that took place in the experiencer’s personal past. In this paper I expand on this definition of episodicmemory. Specifically, I suggest (...) that (a) the core features assumed unique to episodicmemory are shared by semantic memory, (b) episodicmemory cannot be fully understood unless one appreciates that episodic recollection requires the coordinated function of a number of distinct, yet interacting, “enabling” systems. Although these systems – ownership, self, subjective temporality, and agency – are not traditionally viewed as memorial in nature, each is necessary for episodic recollection and jointly they may be sufficient, and (c) the type of subjective awareness provided by episodic recollection (autonoetic) is relational rather than intrinsic – i.e., it can be lost in certain patient populations, thus rendering episodicmemory content indistinguishable from the content of semantic long-term memory. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to show that consciousness entails self-consciousness by focusing on the relationship between consciousness and memory. More specifically, I addreess the following questions: (1) does consciousness require episodicmemory?; and (2) does episodicmemory require self-consciousness? With the aid of some Kantian considerations and recent empirical data, it is argued that consciousness does require episodicmemory. This is done after defining episodicmemory and distinguishing it from (...) other types of memory. An affirmative answer to (2) is also warranted especially in the light of the issues raised in answering (1). I claim that 'consciousness entails self-consciousness' is thereby shown via the route through episodicmemory, i.e. via affirmative answers to (1) and (2). My aim is to revive this Kantian thesis and to bring together current psychological research on amnesia with traditional philosophical perspectives on consciousness and memory. (shrink)
A fundamental question in the emotional memory literature is why emotion enhances memory in some conditions but disrupts memory in other conditions. For example, separate studies have shown that emotional stimuli tend to be better remembered in long-term episodicmemory (EM), whereas emotional distracters tend to impair working memory (WM) maintenance. The first goal of this study was to directly compare the neural correlates of EM enhancement (EME) and WM impairing (WMI) effects, and the (...) second goal was to explore individual differences in these mechanisms. During event-related fMRI, participants maintained faces in WM while being distracted by emotional or neutral pictures presented during the delay period. EM for the distracting pictures was tested after scanning and was used to identify successful encoding activity for the picture distracters. The first goal yielded two findings: (1) Emotional pictures that disrupted face WM but enhanced subsequent EM were associated with increased amygdala and hippocampal activity (ventral system) coupled with reduced dorsolateral PFC activity (dorsal system); (2) Trials in which emotion enhanced EM without disrupting WM were associated with increased ventrolateral PFC activity. The ventral-dorsal switch can explain EME and WMI, while the ventrolateral PFC effect suggests a coping mechanism. The second goal yielded two additional findings: (3) Participants who were more susceptible to WMI showed greater amygdala increases and PFC reductions; (4) Amygdala activity increased and dlPFC activity decreased with measures of impulsivity. Taken together, the results clarify the mechanisms linking the enhancing and impairing effects of emotion on memory. (shrink)
According to recent social interactionist accounts in developmental psychology, a child's learning to talk about the past with others plays a key role in memory development. Most accounts of this kind are centered on the theoretical notion of autobiographical memory and assume that socio-communicative interaction with others is important, in particular, in explaining the emergence of memories that have a particular type of connection to the self. Most of these accounts also construe autobiographical memory as a species (...) of episodicmemory, but its episodic character, as such, is not typically seen as falling within the remit of an explanation in social interactionist terms. I explore the idea that socio-communicative interaction centered on talk about the past might also have an important role to play, quite independently of considerations about the involvement of the self in memory, in accounting for the emergence of memories that are episodic in character, i.e., memories that involve the recollection of particular past events. In doing so, I also try to shed light on a distinctive role that talk about the past plays in socio-communicative interaction. (shrink)
The role of time in episodicmemory and mental time travel is considered in light of findings on humans' temporal memory and anticipation. Time is not integral or uniform in memory for the past or anticipation of the future. The commonalities of episodicmemory and anticipation require further study.
Episodicmemory is usually regarded in a Conceptualist light, in the sense of its being dependent upon the grasp of concepts directly relevant to the act of episodic recollection itself, such as a concept of past times and of the self as an experiencer. Given this view, its development is typically timed as being in the early school-age years (Perner, 2001; Tulving, 2005). We present a minimalist, Non-Conceptualist approach in opposition to this view, but one that also (...) exists in clear contrast to the kind of minimalism (‘episodic-like’) espoused by Clayton and Dickinson (1998) with regard to memory in food-caching birds. While emphasising the nonconceptual elements of episodicmemory (in common with the ‘episodic-like’ approach) we also insist on the essentially phenomenological nature of the memory (as does the Conceptualist approach). We propose the third year of life as a plausible onset period. Our view is rooted in Kantian assumptions about the spatiotemporal content of experience (and thus of re-experience) and about the synthetic unity of experience—and thus of re-experience. We answer two objections to this position. (shrink)
Aggleton & Brown (A&B) propose that the hippocampal-anterior thalamic and perirhinal-medial dorsal thalamic systems play independent roles in episodicmemory, with the hippocampus supporting recollection-based memory and the perirhinal cortex, recognition memory. In this commentary we discuss whether there is experimental support for the A&B model from studies of long-term memory in semantic dementia.
This commentary provides a critique of Tsuda's target article, focusing on the hippocampus and episodic long-term memory. More specifically, the relevance of Cantor coding and chaotic itinerancy for long-term memory functioning is considered, given what we know about the involvement of the hippocampus in the mediation of long-term episodicmemory (based on empirical neuroimaging studies and investigations of brain-damaged amnesic patients).
(1) Substituting (as Solms does) forebrain for brainstem in the search for a dream “controller” is counterproductive, since a distributed system need have no single controller. (2) Evidence against episodicmemory consolidation does not show that REM sleep has no role in other types of memory, contra Vertes & Eastman. (3) A generalization of Revonsuo's “threat simulation” model in reverse is more plausible and is empirically testable. [Hobson et al.; Solms; Revonsuo; Vertes & Eastman].
The term 'episodicmemory' refers to our memory for unique, personal experiences, that we can date at some point in our past - our first day at school, the day we got married. It has again become a topic of great importance and interest to psychologists, neuroscientists, and philosophers. How are such memories stored in the brain, why do certain memories disappear (especially those from early in childhood), what causes false memories (memories of events we erroneously believe (...) have really taken place)? Since Endel Tulving's classic book 'Episodicmemory' (OUP, 1983) very few books have been published on this topic. In recent years however, many of the assumptions made about episodicmemory have had to be reconsidered as a result of new techniques, which have allowed us a far deeper understanding of episodicmemory. In 'Episodicmemory: new directions in research' three of the worlds leading researchers in the topic of memory have brought together a stellar team of contributors from the fields of cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and neuroscience, to present an account of what we now know about about this fundamentally important topic. The list of contributors includes, amongst others, Daniel Schacter, Richard Morris, Fareneh Vargha-Khadem, and Endel Tulving. The work presented within this book will have a profound effect on the direction that future research in this topic will take. (shrink)
There are logical and empirical grounds that link episodicmemory and the ability to imagine future events. In some sense, both episodicmemory and episodic foresight may be regarded as two sides of the same capacity to travel mentally in time. After reviewing some of the recent evidence for commonalities, I discuss limits of these parallels. There are fundamental differences between thinking about past and future events that need to be kept in clear view if (...) we are to make progress in understanding the nature of mental time travel. The reviewed evidence suggests that mental time travel is based on a complex system selected not for accuracy about past and future per se, but for fitness benefits. Functional analyses promise to lead to fruitful avenues for future research. (shrink)
Elements of EpisodicMemory was a seminal text in the memory literature, highly cited and influential. It has been unavailable for some years, but is now back in print as in its original form, with this reissue. -/- The book examines the critical role that retrieval processes play in remembering. It proposes that the nature of recollective experience is determined by the interaction between the 'episodic' trace information and the 'semantic' retrieval information. This basic theme is (...) elaborated by tracing the development of the ideas considering relevant empirical evidence, relating a proposed theoretical framework to the ideas held by other theorists, and dealing with criticisms advanced by others. -/- These issues are discussed from two perspectives. Firstly, from the point of view of 'detached science': the emphasis here is on ideas, hypotheses, evidence, logic and theory. The second is a personal commentary on the development of ideas at the first viewpoint, and provides observations about the psychology and sociology of a developing science. (shrink)
Memory seems intuitively to consist in the preservation of some proposition (in the case of semantic memory) or sensory image (in the case of episodicmemory). However, this intuition faces fatal difficulties. Semantic memory has to be updated to reflect the passage of time: it is not just preservation. And episodicmemory can occur in a format (the observer perspective) in which the remembered image is different from the original sensory image. These difficulties (...) indicate that memory cannot be preserved content. It is proposed that what is preserved in memory isan underlying "trace", and that in every act of remembering, memorial content is reconstructed from the preserved trace. (shrink)
A long-standing debate surrounds the question as to what justifies memory judgements. According to the Past Reason Theory, these judgements are justified by the reasons we had to make identical judgements in the past, whereas the Present Reason Theory claims that these justifying reasons are to be found at the time we pass the memory judgements. In this paper, I defend the original claim that, far from being exclusive, these two theories should be applied to different kinds of (...)memory judgements. The Past Reason Theory offers the most appealing account of justified propositional memory judgements, while the Present Reason Theory provides the best approach to justified episodicmemory judgements. One outcome of my discussion is thus that memory is not epistemologically unified and my argument in favour of this conclusion connects with the issues of internalism, reliabilism and the basing relation. (shrink)
Autobiographical memory and social cognition share common properties and both are affected in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). So far, most of the scant research in ASD has concerned adults, systematically reporting impairment of the episodic component. The only study to be conducted with children concluded that they have poorer personal semantic knowledge than typical developing children. The present study explores the development of both components of autobiographical memory in an 8-year-old boy diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, based on (...) three examinations in 2007, 2008 and 2010. On each occasion, he underwent a general neuropsychological assessment including theory of mind tasks, and a specially-designed autobiographical memory task allowing us to test both the semantic and the episodic components for three lifetime periods (current year, previous year and earlier years). We observed difficulties in strategic retrieval and theory of mind, with a significant improvement between the second and third examinations. Regarding autobiographical memory, different patterns of performance were noted in all three examinations: 1) relative preservation of current-year personal knowledge, but impairment for the previous and earlier years, and 2) impairment of episodicmemory for the current and previous year, but performances similar to those of controls for the earlier years. The first pattern can be explained by abnormal forgetting and by the semanticization mechanism, which needs verbal communication and social interaction to be efficient. The second pattern suggests that the development of episodicmemory only reached the stage of “event memory”. This term refers to memory for personal events lacking in details or spatiotemporal specificity, and is usually observed in children younger than 5. We conclude that the abnormal functioning of social cognition in ASD, encompassing social and personal points of view, has an impact on both components of autobiographical memory. (shrink)
Few studies have examined both episodic and semantic autobiographical memory (AM) performance during late childhood and early adolescence. Using the newly developed Children’s Autobiographical Interview (CAI), the present study examined the effects of age and sex on episodic and semantic AM and everyday memory in 182 children and adolescents. Results indicated that episodic and semantic AM both improved between 8 and 16 years of age; however, age-related changes were larger for episodic AM than for (...) semantic AM. In addition, females were found to recall more episodic AM details, but not more semantic AM details, than males. Importantly, this sex difference in episodic AM recall was attenuated under conditions of high retrieval support (i.e., the use of probing questions). The ability to clearly visualize past events at the time of recollection was also related to children’s episodic AM recall performance, particularly the retrieval of perceptual details. Finally, similar age and sex effects were found between episodic AM and everyday memory ability (e.g., memory for everyday activities). More specifically, older participants and females exhibited better episodic AM and everyday memory performance than younger participants and males. Overall, the present study provides important new insight into both episodic and semantic AM performance, as well as the relation between episodic AM and everyday memory, during late childhood and early adolescence. (shrink)
In functional neuroimaging studies, ventral parietal cortex (VPC) is recruited by very different cognitive tasks. Explaining the contributions VPC to these tasks has become a topic of intense study and lively debate. Perception studies frequently find VPC activations during tasks involving attention-reorienting, and memory studies frequently find them during tasks involving episodic recollection. According to the Attention to Memory (AtoM) model, both phenomena can be explained by the same VPC function: bottom-up attention. Yet, a recent functional MRI (...) (fMRI) meta-analysis suggested that attention-reorienting activations are more frequent in anterior VPC, whereas recollection activations are more frequent in posterior VPC. Also, there is evidence that anterior and posterior VPC regions have different functional connectivity patterns. To investigate these issues, we conducted a resting-state functional connectivity analysis using as seeds the center-of-mass of attention-reorienting and recollection activations in the meta-analysis, which were located in the supramarginal gyrus (SMG, around the temporo-parietal junction—TPJ) and in the angular gyrus (AG), respectively. The SMG seed showed stronger connectivity with ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and occipito-temporal cortex, whereas the AG seed showed stronger connectivity with the hippocampus and default network regions. To investigate whether these connectivity differences were graded or sharp, VLPFC and hippocampal connectivity was measured in VPC regions traversing through the SMG and AG seeds. The results showed a graded pattern: VLPFC connectivity gradually decreases from SMG to AG, whereas hippocampal connectivity gradually increases from SMG to AG. Importantly, both gradients showed an abrupt break when extended beyond VPC borders. This finding suggests that functional differences between SMG and AG are more subtle than previously thought. These connectivity differences can be explained by differences. (shrink)
We all have memories that we prefer not to think about. The ability to suppress retrieval of unwanted memories has been documented in behavioral and neuroimaging research using the Think/No-Think (TNT) paradigm with adults. Attempts to stop memory retrieval are associated with increased activation of lateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) and concomitant reduced activation in medial temporal lobe (MTL) structures. However, the extent to which children have the ability to actively suppress their memories is unknown. This study investigated memory (...) suppression in middle childhood using the TNT paradigm. Forty children aged 8 to 12 and 30 young adults were instructed either to remember (Think) or suppress (No-Think) the memory of the second word of previously studied word-pairs, when presented with the first member as a reminder. They then performed two different cued recall tasks, testing their memory for the second word in each pair after the Think/No-Think phase using the same first studied word within the pair as a cue (intra-list cue) and also an independent cue (extra-list cue). Children exhibited age-related improvements in memory suppression from age 8 to 12 in both memory tests, against a backdrop of overall improvements in declarative memory over this age range. These findings suggest that memory suppression is an active process that develops during late childhood, likely due to an age-related refinement in the ability to engage PFC to down-regulate activity in areas involved in episodic retrieval. (shrink)
Aggleton & Brown rightly point out the shortcomings of the medial temporal lobe hypothesis as an approach to anterograde amnesia. Their broader perspective is a necessary corrective, and one hopes it will be taken very seriously. Although they correctly note the dangers of conflating recognition and recall, they themselves make a similar mistake in discussing familiarity; we suggest an alternative approach. We also discuss implications of their view for an analysis of retrograde amnesia. The notion that there are two routes (...) by which the hippocampus can reactivate neuronal ensembles in the neocortex could help us understand some currently puzzling facts about the dynamics of memory consolidation. (shrink)
The effort to identify the neural substrate of episodic recall, though ambitious, lacks experimental support. By considering the data on c-fos activation by novel and familiar stimuli in recognition studies, we illustrate how inadequate experimental designs permit alternative interpretations. We stress that interpretation of c-fos expression changes should be supported by adequate recognition tests.
Lindquist et al. remark that not all fear instances lead to heightened amygdalar activity and, instead, point to roles of the amygdala in detecting or stimuli. By reviewing research on the amygdala's functions in episodic-autobiographical memory, we further emphasize the involvement of the amygdala in coding the subjective relevance and extracting the biological and social significance of the stimuli.
In a dynamic world, mechanisms allowing prediction of future situations can provide a selective advantage. We suggest that memory systems differ in the degree of flexibility they offer for anticipatory behavior and put forward a corresponding taxonomy of prospection. The adaptive advantage of any memory system can only lie in what it contributes for future survival. The most flexible is episodicmemory, which we suggest is part of a more general faculty of mental time travel that (...) allows us not only to go back in time, but also to foresee, plan, and shape virtually any specific future event. We review comparative studies and find that, in spite of increased research in the area, there is as yet no convincing evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals. We submit that mental time travel is not an encapsulated cognitive system, but instead comprises several subsidiary mechanisms. A theater metaphor serves as an analogy for the kind of mechanisms required for effective mental time travel. We propose that future research should consider these mechanisms in addition to direct evidence of future-directed action. We maintain that the emergence of mental time travel in evolution was a crucial step towards our current success. (shrink)
Argues for a category of “cognitive feelings”, which are representationally significant, but are not part of the content of the states they accompany. The feeling of pastness in episodicmemory, of familiarity (missing in Capgras syndrome), and of motivation (that accompanies desire) are examples. The feeling of presence that accompanies normal visual states is due to such a cognitive feeling; the “two visual systems” are partially responsible for this feeling.
Using the concepts of chaotic dynamical systems, we present an interpretation of dynamic neural activity found in cortical and subcortical areas. The discovery of chaotic itinerancy in high-dimensional dynamical systems with and without a noise term has motivated a new interpretation of this dynamic neural activity, cast in terms of the high-dimensional transitory dynamics among “exotic” attractors. This interpretation is quite different from the conventional one, cast in terms of simple behavior on low-dimensional attractors. Skarda and Freeman (1987) presented evidence (...) in support of the conclusion that animals cannot memorize odor without chaotic activity of neuron populations. Following their work, we study the role of chaotic dynamics in biological information processing, perception, and memory. We propose a new coding scheme of information in chaos-driven contracting systems we refer to as Cantor coding. Since these systems are found in the hippocampal formation and also in the olfactory system, the proposed coding scheme should be of biological significance. Based on these intensive studies, a hypothesis regarding the formation of episodicmemory is given. Key Words: Cantor coding; chaotic itinerancy; dynamic aspects of the brain; dynamic associative memory; episodicmemory; high-dimensional dynamical systems; SCND attractors. (shrink)
Computational models of semantic memory exploit information about co-occurrences of words in naturally occurring text to extract information about the meaning of the words that are present in the language. Such models implicitly specify a representation of temporal context. Depending on the model, words are said to have occurred in the same context if they are presented within a moving window, within the same sentence, or within the same document. The temporal context model (TCM), which specifies a particular definition (...) of temporal context, has proved useful in the study of episodicmemory. The predictive temporal context model (pTCM) uses the same definition of temporal context to generate semantic memory representations. Taken together pTCM and TCM may prove to be part of a general model of declarative memory. (shrink)
Visual forms of episodicmemory and anticipatory imagination involve images that, by virtue of their perspectival organization, imply a notional subject of experience. But they contain no inbuilt reference to the actual subject, the person actually doing the remembering or imagining. This poses the problem of what (if anything) connects these two perspectival subjects and what differentiates cases of genuine memory and anticipation from mere imagined seeing. I consider two approaches to this problem. The first, exemplified by (...) Wollheim and Velleman, claims that genuinely reflexive memories and anticipations are phenomenally unselfconscious, with the co-identity of the notional and actual subjects secured by a determinate causal history. The second approach posits some distinctive phenomenal property that attaches to genuinely reflexive memories and anticipations and serves to experientially conflate the notional and actual subject. I consider a version of the second approach, derived from Kierkegaard’s discussions of phenomenal contemporaneity, and argue that this approach can better account for the possibility of affective alienation from the selves we were and will be: the way in which our sense of self and awareness of our causal history can sometimes come apart. (shrink)