Elements of Episodic Memory: Insights from Artificial Agents

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Many recent AI systems take inspiration from biological episodic memory. Here, we ask how these ‘episodic-inspired’ AI systems might inform our understanding of biological episodic memory. We discuss work showing that these systems implement some key features of episodic memory whilst differing in important respects, and appear to enjoy behavioural advantages in the domains of strategic decision-making, fast learning, navigation, exploration and acting over temporal distance. We propose that these systems could be used to evaluate competing theories of episodic memory’s operations and function. However, further work is needed to validate them as models of episodic memory and isolate the contributions of their memory systems to their behaviour. More immediately, we propose that these systems have a role to play in directing episodic memory research by highlighting novel or neglected hypotheses as pursuit-worthy. In this vein, we propose that the evidence reviewed here highlights two pursuit-worthy hypotheses about episodic memory’s function: that it plays a role in planning that is independent of future-oriented simulation, and that it is adaptive in virtue of its contributions to fast learning in novel, sparse-reward environments.



External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Experience replay algorithms and the function of episodic memory.Alexandria Boyle - forthcoming - In Lynn Nadel & Sara Aronowitz (eds.), Space, Time, and Memory. Oxford University Press.
The mnemonic functions of episodic memory.Alexandria Boyle - 2022 - Philosophical Psychology 35 (3):327-349.
The impure phenomenology of episodic memory.Alexandria Boyle - 2019 - Mind and Language 35 (5):641-660.
Remembering events and representing time.Alexandria Boyle - 2020 - Synthese 199 (1-2):2505-2524.
Précis of Elements of episodic memory.Endel Tulving - 1984 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 7 (2):223.
Consciousness, self‐consciousness and episodic memory.Rocco J. Gennaro - 1992 - Philosophical Psychology 5 (4):333-47.
You Don’t Know What Happened.Matthew Frise - 2022 - In Andre Sant'Anna, Christopher McCarroll & Kourken Michaelian (eds.), Current Controversies in Philosophy of Memory. Routledge.
What has episodic memory got to do with space and time?Ian Phillips - forthcoming - In Sara Aronowitz & Lynn Nadel (eds.), Space, Time, and Memory. Oxford: OUP.
Semanticization Challenges the Episodic–Semantic Distinction.Sara Aronowitz - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science.
Elements of Episodic Memory.Endel Tulving - 1983 - Oxford University Press.


Added to PP


6 months

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Alexandria Boyle
London School of Economics
Andrea Blomkvist
University of Antwerp

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references