Jonathon Crystal's research focuses on developing animal models of cognition. Current work focuses on episodic memory, source memory, and prospective memory in rats. He has also developed rodent models to assess retrieval practice, working memory, and metacognition. He is currently the Editor of Learning & Behavior, and he recently served as President of the Comparative Cognition Society. He is a Provost Professor in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences at Indiana University. At Indiana University, he recently served as the Director of the Program in Neuroscience and is a member of the Cognitive Science Program and the Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior. Previously, he served as a faculty member at the University of Georgia and the College of William & Mary. He received his BSc from University of Toronto in 1992, ScM from Brown University in 1994, and PhD from Brown University in 1997.
People retrieve episodic memories about specific earlier events that happened to them. Accordingly, researchers have sought to evaluate the hypothesis that nonhumans retrieve episodic memories. The central hypothesis of an animal model of episodic memory is that, at the moment of a memory assessment, the animal retrieves a memory of a specific earlier event. We tested this hypothesis by ruling out non-episodic memory hypotheses. We developed a range of approaches, so that we have working models to evaluate elements of episodic memory in animals. These approaches include: what-where-when memory (Zhou & Crystal 2009, PNAS); source memory (Crystal, Alford, Zhou, & Hohmann 2013, Current Biology); binding of episodic memories (Crystal & Smith 2014, Current Biology); multiple item-in-context memories (Panoz-Brown et al., 2016, Current Biology); replay of episodic memories (Panoz-Brown et al., 2018, Current Biology); and answering unexpected questions after incidental encoding (Zhou, Hohmann, & Crystal 2012, Current Biology). In each approach, evidence for episodic memory comes from studies in which judgments of familiarity cannot produce accurate choices in memory assessments. These approaches may be used to explore the evolution of memory.