Episodic Like Memory In Animals Existent Or Not

1655 words - 7 pages

Episodic memory which is memory of what happened, where and when aspects of an event is a popular concept in psychology . It is a well studied phenomena in human psychology. With a growing interest to test the existence of episodic memory in other animals, which is hard to demonstrate as there is always ambiguity due to lack of mutual language in non human subjects. Thus, the researchers came up with a term episodic like memory to represent the phenomena in non human animals. In a study Clayton and colleagues, showed the scrub jay demonstrate episodic like memory. Reserachers stored favourite food of jay worms which decay quickly and peanuts. The caching behaviour of jays showed they remembered the when aspect of food stored along with what and where. After short delay jays searched for their preferred food worms versus peanuts. As the delay increased jays preferred peanuts over worms indicating they had a sense of time thus would avoid worms after delay. In my sight, there can be alternative explanations to this blue jay experiment and similar ones which attempt to demonstrate episodic like memory in n human animals. Firstly, instrumental learning which is that a behaviour is learnt as a result of consequences of it. Positive consequences will lead to the likelihood of the behaviour to be repeated and negative consequences will lead to avoidance of the behaviour in the future.For example, if an animal eats a food and gets sick. It will learn to avoid it in the future. Secondly, stuck in time hypothesis, which is that animals are unable to disconnect current from present and past. Thus the behaviour shown which is taken as a evidence for episodic memory can be just the difference in decaying of information. Another explanation can be the animals might use semantic memory which is misunderstood as episodic memory. Semantic memory is knowledge of facts but not the remembrance of event in detail.If the animals shows only what and when aspects like showed by---------- that is likely to be semantic memory as opposed to episodic memory.

In support of my first alternative explanation of episodic like memory in animals, the following two experiments are appropriate examples. They show animals may learn to avoid a food due to negative consequences followed by it rather than actually remembering when exactly it happened.----- and colleagues did a study which showed that rats learnt taste aversion via instrumental learning.This provides support for my argument, that avoidance of rats to a particular solution was not due to the remembrance of the aversive event( episodic like memory). Instead it was a learnt behaviour as a result of consequences that followed each solution. First, they trained the rats to press a lever for which they where rewarded with distilled water. In the following trials flavoured solutions were presented. There were two flavoured solutions, chicken flavoured and lemon flavoured. By the end of the trials either amphetamine or...

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