School of Psychology

The Episodic Memory Group

Sussex campusa

The Episodic Memory Group

The Episodic Memory group is a group of researchers, led by Prof Chris Bird, based in the School of Psychology at the University of Sussex. We are interested in how humans remember things, such as events and episodes as well as where things are located in the world. We are also interested how processing in different parts of the brain underpins different types of memory and why brain damage can cause memory problems (such as in people who have Alzheimer’s disease).

Here are few questions that the group is particularly interested in:

  • How do we remember events? Do we just put together all of the things that we think happened and if so, if “remembering” the same as “imagining”?
  • How does general knowledge influence the way that we remember specific things?
  • How do we "chunk" ongoing experience into discrete events that can be recalled later?
  • What are the brain systems involved in memory?
  • What kind of things can people still learn despite severe memory problems?

We carry out experiments that help us address these and related questions. The experiments use a range of methods; memory testing in healthy adults, functional brain imaging (MRI) studies and memory testing in people with brain damage.

Recently, a hallmark of our research has been the use of naturalistic materials, such as free-viewing of movies, to simulate real-world experience.

Our major source of funding is the European Research Council, who awarded a €1.17M Starting Grant (Feb 2014 - Apr 2019) and a €1.95M Consolidator Grant (Oct 2019 - Sep 2024) to Dr Bird. See “Projects” section for more details.