In a recent study conducted by a group of researchers in Budapest, Hungary, dogs may have an episodic-like memory. Indeed, dogs really are smarter than most people think, scientists have proved once again. They appear to know and remember more than their owners think. This kind of memory retainment involves a sense of self and is known as its name as “episodic memory” in animals.
Dogs Have Better Memory Compared To People
According to Immortal News, the study conducted by researchers at the Family Dog Project at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest focused on memory, a particular favorite of researchers who analyze animal intelligence. Led by Claudia Fugazza, a member of the MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group, the team set to find if dogs have a more complex kind of memory called episodic memory.
The researchers used a training method called "Do As I Do." As reported by TechTimes, the researchers trained 17 dogs to copy human actions through the "Do as I Do" method. Next step, the dogs were taught to lie down purposefully after the watching an action performed by a person. After the dogs learned to do this, they were suddenly given a "Do It" command without any prior warning.
We all know that dogs can be trained to repeat the action efficiently, this skill cannot be considered as an outcome of episodic memory. To be considered that the dogs do have episodic memory, they should repeat a task without being asked or rewarded. As a result from the study, the dogs were able to imitate the action even though they weren't alerted beforehand to remember and repeat it.
What Is Episodic Memory?
Episodic memory is the memory of autobiographical events. It includes times, places, associated emotions, and other contextual who, what, when, where, why knowledge that can be explicitly stated. It is the collection of past personal experiences that occurred at a particular time and place. In the case of dogs, it is where they are able to do an action on their own after a series of training.
The term "episodic memory" was coined by Endel Tulving in 1972. He was referring to the distinction between knowing and remembering. Knowing is more factual (semantic) whereas remembering is a feeling that is located in the past (episodic). Semantic and episodic memory together make up the category of declarative memory, which is one of the two major divisions of memory.