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Workshop: Episodic Memory – Uniquely Human?

21 May22 May

We are excited to announce the upcoming workshop, Episodic Memory: Uniquely Human?, to be held on 21-22 May 2024, at LSE’s Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Sciences (CPNSS), 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: 21 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: 22 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 13 May using this link. A programme along with details of the workshop will be emailed to registrants on 17 May 2024.

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

Please contact Ali Boyle (a.boyle2@lse.ac.uk) with any questions about this event.



21 May
22 May
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