Episodic Memory: Uniquely Human?

May 21, 2024 - May 22, 2024
Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science

London School of Economics and Political Science
United Kingdom

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities

This event is available both online and in-person


  • UK Research and Innovation


University of Glasgow
University of Cambridge
Duke University
York University
University of Stirling
Microsoft Research


University of Glasgow

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Workshop: Episodic Memory: Uniquely Human?

We are excited to announce the upcoming workshop, Episodic Memory: Uniquely Human?, to be held on May 21-22, 2024, at LSE’s Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science, and over Zoom.

Background: Episodic memory is memory for personally experienced past events—events we experienced or witnessed first-hand. Episodic memory appears to be central to humans' mental lives, but its precise nature and contributions to cognition are a matter of ongoing debate. A further debate concerns the distribution of episodic memory in the natural world: Is episodic memory possessed by any (non-human) animals, or is it uniquely human? These questions seem importantly connected. We can't detect episodic memory in animals without knowing what it does. At the same time, an account of episodic memory's operations ought to be informed by our understanding of both human and animal memory. Meanwhile, AI researchers are increasingly making use of 'episodic memory inspired' algorithms. Might these AI systems shed light on the nature of episodic memory and its distribution in the animal kingdom?

This workshop brings together researchers from philosophy, cognitive science and computer science to address such questions about episodic memory from an interdisciplinary perspective. The schedule for the workshop is as follows.

Day 1: 21st May

9.45: Welcome

10-11: Ali Boyle (LSE): The ‘null hypothesis’ about animal memory

11.30-12.30 Lucy Cheke (University of Cambridge): What is developing in episodic memory development?

2.00-3.00 Arieh Schwartz (LSE): Respects and degrees of episodic memory likeness.

3.00-4.00 Nicola Clayton (University of Cambridge): How can we test if episodic-like memory is like episodic memory?

4.30-5.30 Ida Momennejad (Microsoft Research): Episodic and predictive: Memory representations in humans and machines

Day 2: 22nd May

10-11: Andrea Blomkvist (University of Glasgow): Mental imagery: A marker of episodic memory?

11.30-12.30 Zafeirios Fountas (UCL/Huawei): Sense of time, events and episodic memory in humans and AI

2.00-3.00 Johannes Mahr (York University): What can the structure of episodic representations tell us about their human uniqueness?

3.00-4.00 Gema Martin-Ordas (University of Stirling): The evolution of episodic memory: the sense of time

4.30-5.30 Felipe De Brigard (Duke University): Episodic memory without autonoetic consciousness?

 Attendance at the workshop is free, but we ask that attendees register so that we can ensure we have sufficient capacity. Please register by May 13th, using this form: https://forms.gle/tmXeZq2PZmiZhY1w9 . A programme along with details of the workshop will be emailed to registrants on May 17th.

This workshop is being organised as part of Ali Boyle's 'Episodic Memory: Uniquely Human?' project, funded by UKRI.

Please contact Ali Boyle ([email protected]) with any questions about this event.

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May 13, 2024, 5:00pm BST

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Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj

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