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Durham e-Theses
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Segmentation of experience and episodic memory across species

ROSS, TYLER,WAYNE (2024) Segmentation of experience and episodic memory across species. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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How continuous ongoing perceptual experience is processed by the brain and mind to form unique episodes in memory is a key scientific question. Recent work in Psychology and Neuroscience has proposed that humans perceptually segment continuous ongoing experience into meaningful units, which allows the successful formation of episodic memories. Despite accumulating work demonstrating that non- human animals also display a capability of episodic-‘like’ memory, whether non-human animals segment continuous ongoing experience into ‘meaningful’ episodic units is a question that has not been fully explored. Hence, the main goal of the research in this thesis aims to address whether a comparable segmentation process (or processes) of continuous ongoing experience occurs for non-human animals in their formation of episodic-like memory, as it does for humans in their formation of episodic memory. Chapter 2 argues that, similarly to humans, rats can use top-down like prediction-error processing in segmenting for subsequent memory to guide behaviour in an episodic-like spontaneous object recognition task. Chapter 3 suggests that mice readily incorporate conspecific-contextual information using episodic-like memory processing, indicating that conspecifics can act as a segmentation cue for non-human animals. Chapter 4 highlights that humans and rodents may similarly segment continuous ongoing experience during turns made around spatial boundaries. Chapter 5 argues that individual place cells can represent content of episodic nature, with the theoretical implication of this being discussed in relation to episodic memory. Thus, the results presented in this thesis, as well as re-interpretation of previous literature, would argue in favour of non-humans segmenting their experience for episodic-like memory. Finally, the evidence is evaluated in the context of whether episodic-like memory in non-human animals is simply just episodic memory as experienced in humans.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:episodic memory, event segmentation, spontaneous recognition, place cells
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:10 Apr 2024 14:09

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