Event memory: A theory of memory for laboratory, autobiographical, and fictional events.

Journal Article

An event memory is a mental construction of a scene recalled as a single occurrence. It therefore requires the hippocampus and ventral visual stream needed for all scene construction. The construction need not come with a sense of reliving or be made by a participant in the event, and it can be a summary of occurrences from more than one encoding. The mental construction, or physical rendering, of any scene must be done from a specific location and time; this introduces a "self" located in space and time, which is a necessary, but need not be a sufficient, condition for a sense of reliving. We base our theory on scene construction rather than reliving because this allows the integration of many literatures and because there is more accumulated knowledge about scene construction's phenomenology, behavior, and neural basis. Event memory differs from episodic memory in that it does not conflate the independent dimensions of whether or not a memory is relived, is about the self, is recalled voluntarily, or is based on a single encoding with whether it is recalled as a single occurrence of a scene. Thus, we argue that event memory provides a clearer contrast to semantic memory, which also can be about the self, be recalled voluntarily, and be from a unique encoding; allows for a more comprehensive dimensional account of the structure of explicit memory; and better accounts for laboratory and real-world behavioral and neural results, including those from neuropsychology and neuroimaging, than does episodic memory.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rubin, DC; Umanath, S

Published Date

  • January 2015

PubMed ID

  • 25330330

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25330330

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0037907