Episodic memory is a neurocognitive (brain/mind) system, uniquely different from other
memory systems, that enables human beings to remember past experiences. The notion
of episodic memory was first proposed some 30 years ago. At that time it was defined
in terms of materials and tasks. It was subsequently refined and elaborated in terms
of ideas such as self, subjective time, and autonoetic consciousness. This chapter
provides a brief history of the concept of episodic memory, describes how it has changed
(indeed greatly changed) since its inception, considers criticisms of it, and then
discusses supporting evidence provided by (a) neuropsychological studies of patterns
of memory impairment caused by brain damage, and (b) functional neuroimaging studies
of patterns of brain activity of normal subjects engaged in various memory tasks.
I also suggest that episodic memory is a true, even if as yet generally unappreciated,
marvel of nature.