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

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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.





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Rubin, David C, and Sharda Umanath (2015). Event memory: A theory of memory for laboratory, autobiographical, and fictional events. Psychol Rev, 122(1). pp. 1–23. 10.1037/a0037907 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/10068.

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David C. Rubin

Juanita M. Kreps Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

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My main research interest has been in long-term memory, especially for complex (or "real-world") stimuli. This work includes the study of autobiographical memory and oral traditions, as well as prose. I have also studied memory as it is more commonly done in experimental psychology laboratories using lists. In addition to this purely behavioral research, which I plan to continue, I work on memory in clinical populations with the aid of a National Institute of Mental Health grant to study PTSD and on the underlying neural basis of memory the aid of a National Institute of Aging grant to study autobiographical memory using fMRI.

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