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Title: The developmental precursors of episodic memory
Author: Davies, Jonathan Gareth Gwyn
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2007
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Converging evidence suggests that it is not until the age of approximately 4 years that children can mentally time-travel back in time to re-experience episodes from their life (‘episodic memory’). This research was motivated by two questions: (1) how does episodic-like memory emerge out of event memory? And (2) to what extend does episodic-like memory share some of the psychological characteristics of episodic memory (e.g. the putative dependence on grasping the representing relationship between knowledge and experience, as demonstrated by tests of seeing-leads-to-knowing)? Three tasks were conducted to address these issues. The first, the ‘two-object what & where’ task employed an object-placement/witnessed pilfer design, and found that shortly after the second birthday children become able to integrate ‘what’ information (with respect to objects) in day-long location memory. In the ‘Tim and Tom’ task, deferred imitation of a two-step action sequence was used to demonstrate the presence of day-long event memory in children upwards of 36-months-of-age. Finally, the ‘what, where, when’ task tested for the presence of episodic-like memory in 3- to 4-year-olds, and established that children found conditions which require them to remember how long ago an event had happened were significantly harder than conditions without this requirement. The abilities tested by the ‘what, where, when’ task were not found to recruit theory-of-mind or seeing-leads-to-knowing abilities. Given this, the ‘what, where, when’ task can be interpreted as supporting the distinction drawn between episodic and episodic-like memory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available