Time to Get Real: Event Structure and Episodic Memory
Charan Ranganath

September 10, 2018, 3:00pm - 4:30pm
Cognitive and Information Sciences, University of California, Merced

Kolligian Library 232
5200 N. Lake Road
Merced 95343
United States


University of California, Merced

Topic areas


The ability to remember past events, or episodic memory, is typically studied in psychology and neuroscience by asking people to study lists of words or pictures. Although list learning paradigms have revealed a number of important insights, most of these studies miss a key element of episodic memory—when one recalls a past event, they do not recall details in isolation, but rather they typically retrieve and reconstruct an entire sequence of experiences that occurred in a particular place, time, and situation. I will present a number of studies that have examined the impact of temporal structure on memory, and also evidence regarding the neural mechanisms that support different kinds of temporal organization in episodic memory. Our work highlights two important mechanisms—one, dependent on the hippocampus, that represents associations between specific people and things and the context in which they were encountered, and another more general mechanism that represents experiences across long timescales and generalizes across specific experiences.

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