IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

In Search of Lost Time. An Economic Theory of Episodic Memory


  • Antoine Billot


The model of memory process we propose is based on two assumptions. First, spatial or adresses network models in economics can be easily adapted to describe a significative part of the episodic memory mechanism as defined by Tulving (1983). Second, brain viewed as a network behaves as a decision-maker who arbitrates between two economic dimensions of recollection: the reward —i.e., the satisfaction for recovering old informations located in mnesic traces —and the cost —i.e., the price for stimulating the traces network. Indeed, the two results exhibited in the paper —and devoted to a formal and appealing characterization of true and false recollections — are directly derived from the idea of a rational brain. Finally, this paper aims at showing that it could be relevant to model memory processes in a pure symbolic way —contrary to most of the neuroeconomics contributions which are generally experimental —and also that such an attempt for an abstract and analogical representation of the episodic memory process based on a spatial microeconomics methodology seems to be specially efficient and illustrative of Hintzman (1986) and recent Doeller et al. (2010) intuitions and features. JEL Classification: C91, D81.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoine Billot, 2012. "In Search of Lost Time. An Economic Theory of Episodic Memory," Recherches économiques de Louvain, De Boeck Université, vol. 78(3), pages 29-45.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_783_0029

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: free

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: free

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item


    neuroeconomics; memory process; spatial network;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cai:reldbu:rel_783_0029. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jean-Baptiste de Vathaire). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.