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episodic memory

the ability to remember personally experienced events associated with a particular time and place. As defined in 1972 by Endel Tulving, episodic memory supplements semantic memory as a form of declarative memory. Although Tulving’s original description of episodic memory required recollecting the three ‘Ws’ of an event—what, where, and when—it has since been revised to include a sense of self-awareness and a subjective conscious experience as well (termed autonoetic consciousness). In other words, in addition to recalling the facts of a past event, an individual has to engage in “mental time travel” and remember that he or she was the one who lived the event. The hippocampus plays a key role in episodic memory formation and retrieval. Atrophy of this area and structures in the associated hippocampal formation is a hallmark feature of Alzheimer’s disease, although episodic memory also declines considerably with normal aging. See also autobiographical memory.

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March 3rd 2024

closed-class words

closed-class words

in a language, a category of words that does not readily admit new members, consisting mainly of words that serve key grammatical functions, such as pronouns, prepositions, and determiners (see function word). Compare open-class words.