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Author (up) Griffiths, D.P.; Clayton, N.S. url  doi
  Title Testing episodic memory in animals: A new approach Type Journal Article
  Year 2001 Publication Physiology & Behavior Abbreviated Journal Physiol. Behav.  
  Volume 73 Issue 5 Pages 755-762  
  Keywords Episodic memory; Food-caching; Animal models  
  Abstract Episodic memory involves the encoding and storage of memories concerned with unique personal experiences and their subsequent recall, and it has long been the subject of intensive investigation in humans. According to Tulving's classical definition, episodic memory “receives and stores information about temporally dated episodes or events and temporal-spatial relations among these events.” Thus, episodic memory provides information about the `what' and `when' of events (`temporally dated experiences') and about `where' they happened (`temporal-spatial relations'). The storage and subsequent recall of this episodic information was thought to be beyond the memory capabilities of nonhuman animals. Although there are many laboratory procedures for investigating memory for discrete past episodes, until recently there were no previous studies that fully satisfied the criteria of Tulving's definition: they can all be explained in much simpler terms than episodic memory. However, current studies of memory for cache sites in food-storing jays provide an ethologically valid model for testing episodic-like memory in animals, thereby bridging the gap between human and animal studies memory. There is now a pressing need to adapt these experimental tests of episodic memory for other animals. Given the potential power of transgenic and knock-out procedures for investigating the genetic and molecular bases of learning and memory in laboratory rodents, not to mention the wealth of knowledge about the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of the rodent hippocampus (a brain area heavily implicated in episodic memory), an obvious next step is to develop a rodent model of episodic-like memory based on the food-storing bird paradigm. The development of a rodent model system could make an important contribution to our understanding of the neural, molecular, and behavioral mechanisms of mammalian episodic memory.  
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