CEMS 2017

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The 2017 Context and Episodic Memory Symposium (CEMS), now in its thirteenth year, will be held at the Inn at Penn in Philadelphia, PA, on May 4th and 5th, 2017.

The symposium is designed to be a forum for the exchange of ideas among colleagues working on theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of context and episodic memory, broadly construed.


We are pleased to announce this year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Richard Shiffrin, Distinguished Professor of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington.

Dr. Shiffrin, a member of the National Academy of Science, has led the field in developing formal mathematical models of memory for nearly 50 years.

Conference Registration

Registration for CEMS 2017 is now open.

Early registration fees* are:

  • $325 for faculty
  • $225 for non-faculty

Click here for the registration form, where you will enter your personal information. Once the form has been completed, please continue to the payment page to complete registration.

*Please note that on April 21, 2017, registration prices will increase $25 for administration fees.

Location & Hotel

The venue for the 2017 CEMS will be the Inn at Penn, located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania.

The Inn at Penn is a Four Diamond Hilton hotel, located at 3600 Sansom Street in historic Philadelphia, PA.

More information on the Inn at Penn can be found on their website.


In addition to its role as the venue for CEMS 2017, the Inn at Penn will serve as the preferred hotel for the event. A limited number of rooms are available at a special event rate of $269 per night.

To make use of this reduced rate, book your room(s) from our event page here.

Please book your room(s) by April 3, 2017, to ensure that you receive the preferred guest rate.

Please note that our room block includes the evenings of May 3 (Wednesday into Thursday) and May 4 (Thursday into Friday). If you attempt to book outside of these dates, you may find the website lists rooms as "not available." If this is the case, please limit the evenings you are attempting to book through the link above to May 3 and May 4.

Click here to view this location on Google Maps


The University of Pennsylvania is served by Philadelphia International Airport and Amtrak 30th Street Station, and is a short train or taxi ride away from both.

From the Airport

  • Towncar
    • Uber is a on-demand towncar service that you can summon using an app on your iPhone or Android device, or from m.uber.com, or by texting an address and city to UBR-CAB (827-222). You must create an account to request a ride.
    • Rate estimates for a ride between the airport and the Inn at Penn Airport are approximately $20-25 for a towncar, $45-60 for a luxury sedan, and $60-70 for a luxury SUV (up to 6 people comfortably)
    • Link a credit card to your account. No need to pay your driver directly, and tip is included.
    • For additional information, Uber hosts a webpage with info on travel to and from the airport.
  • Taxi
    • One-way taxi fare between The Inn at Penn and the airport is approximately $32.50.
    • For trips originating at the airport, there is an additional $1.50 fee.
    • Most cabs hold up to 3 people. An additional fee of $1 will be charged for each passenger after the first.
    • The trip takes between 15-30 minutes depending on traffic.
  • Regional Rail
    • The airport is serviced by SEPTA's Airport Regional Rail line, which makes a stop at each airport terminal.
    • In Center City, you may utilize either the University City or 30th Street Station stops on the Airport line.
    • Tickets between the airport and Center City are $8.00 per person each way when purchased on the train. Tickets purchased in advance at a station are discounted to $6.50.
    • The train is scheduled to run every 30 minutes. The full Airport Line schedule can be found here.
    • The trip takes approximately 20 minutes each way.
    • A complete SEPTA transit map can be found here

From 30th Street Station

  • The walk from 30th Street Station to the Inn at Penn is roughly 0.8 miles and goes through the campus of Drexel University.
  • There is a taxi stand immediately outside the East doors of the station.
  • SEPTA's trolley and bus lines connect at 30th Street Station and cost $2.25 (exact change and tokens only). SEPTA tokens can be purchased for $1.80 each, and may be used on all subway, trolley, and bus lines.
  • The Inn at Penn is located adjacent to the 36th Street Trolley station. Route 11, 13, 34, and 36 trolleys provide transit between this station and 30th Street.


  • The University of Pennsylvania is close to both I-76 and I-95.
  • The Inn at Penn offers valet parking at a rate of $43 for overnight parking with in and out privileges and 20.00 for daily event parking.
  • Self parking is available at a garage at 38th & Sansom, one block from The Inn At Penn. More garages may be found on this map.

Getting Around

  • SEPTA subways, trolleys, and buses run all over Philadelphia.
    • Normal base rate is $2.25 cash (exact change only), or a token. Tokens can be purchased for $1.80 each. More information about fares can be found here.
    • You may find a complete system map here. You can also find transit directions on Google Maps.
    • SEPTA Independence Passes are available for $12 per person or $29 for a family pass. An Independence Pass provides unlimited one-day travel on all buses, subways, trolleys, and Regional Rail trains.
  • Taxis are plentiful.
    • Fares are a $2.70 flag drop plus $0.23 per 1/10 mi or 38 seconds of wait time.
  • Uber is a on-demand towncar service that you can summon using an app on your iPhone or Android device, or from m.uber.com, or by texting an address and city to UBR-CAB (827-222). You must create an account to request a ride.
    • Normal rates for a towncar are a $1.25 base fare, plus $1.10 per mile and $0.18 per minute of wait time, as well as a $1.25 service fee. Minimum fare is $5.75. Luxury car and SUV rates are higher.
    • Link a credit card to your account. No need to pay your driver directly, and tip is included.
    • Sign up using this CEMS link and receive a $10 bonus credit towards your first ride.

Abstract Submission

Abstract Submission for CEMS 2017 is now CLOSED. Thank you for your submissions.

The symposium is designed to be a forum for the exchange of ideas among colleagues working on theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of context and episodic memory, broadly construed.

The format of CEMS is to have a relatively small number of spoken presentations each followed by a commentary given by a scientist working on related problems. The program committee aims to identify submissions that highlight major new theoretical and/or empirical advances. Papers not selected for these spoken presentations can be given as poster presentations. In previous years, posters have been a major highlight of the meeting and have been very well attended.

Information for Presenters

Please submit a copy of your presentation to context.symposium@gmail.com by May 2. This is to ensure all software is available to run your presentation. This does not need to be the final copy of the presentation but the closest available by that date.

On the morning of your presentation, please see Katherine Hurley at the podium to upload the final version of your presentation to the presentation laptop.

For a full break-down of presentation times, please see the schedule in the section below. (Note: There will not be audio regularly available for presentations. Should this cause an issue, please reach out to context.symposium@gmail.com as soon as possible.)

Spoken Presentation

Spoken Presentations are 25 minutes long, including time for a questions at the end of the presentation.

Short Spoken Presentation

Short Spoken Presentations are 15 minutes long, including time for a questions at the end of the presentation.

Data Blitzes

Data blitz presentations will last eight minutes, including time for questions at the end of the presentation.


We will have easels, foam core boards, and thumbtacks available for poster display. Please limit posters to 40x60" at maximum.

Tentative Schedule

If you are presenting and have scheduling conflicts, please let us know as soon as possible by emailing context.symposium@gmail.com

Thursday Friday
8:30 Breakfast 8:30 Breakfast
9:00 Opening Remarks 9:00 Christian Doeller
9:05 Barbara Knowlton 9:25 Ida Momennejad
9:30 Andrew Yonelinas 9:50 Kenneth Malmberg
9:55 Anna Schapiro 10:05 Maureen Ritchey
10:10 Christoph Weidemann 10:20 Break
10:35 Break 10:45 Neal W. Morton
11:00 Keynote Address: Richard Shiffrin 11:00 Geoff Ward
12:00 Group Photo 11:15 Lynn Lohnas
12:30 Lunch 11:30 Gregory Cox
14:00 John H. Wittig, Jr 11:45 Jeremy B. Caplan
14:15 Lili Sahakyan 12:00 Lunch
14:30 Robert Nosofsky 13:30 Nicole Long
15:00 Michael R. Dulas 13:45 Karl Healey
15:15 Break 14:00 Data Blitz, including:
15:40 Data Blitz, including: 1. Inder Singh
1. Ethan Solomon 2. Kareem Zaghloul
2. Alexa Tompary 3. Merika Wilson
3. Patrick Sadil 4. Brian M. Siefke
4. Marcus K. Benna 5. James W. Antony
5. Sucheta Chakravarty 6. Joey Ka-Yee Essoe
6. Youssef Ezzyat 8. Iva K. Brunec
7. Jeffrey Starns 15:30-17:00 Poster Session 2
8. Jack H. Wilson
9. Aya Ben-Yakov
10. Adam Osth
17:00-18:30 Reception and Poster Session 1

List of featured spoken presentations

First author will be presenting unless otherwise noted.

Keynote Presentation

  • Dr. Richard Shiffrin, Distinguished Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington

Spoken Presentations

  • Ida Momennejad, Evan Russek, Matthew Botvinick, Sam Gershman, Nathaniel Daw (Princeton Neuroscience Institute): The successor representation in learning and memory
  • Barbara J. Knowlton, Joseph P. Hennessee, Alan D. Castel (University of California, Los Angeles): Recognizing What Matters: Effects of Stimulus Value on Memory for Incidental Contextual Details
  • Christian Doeller (Kavli Institute, NTNU Trondheim, Norway; Donders Institute, RU Nijmegen, the Netherlands): Entorhinal grid-like coding of contextual anisotropy minimizes uncertainty for optimal decision making in humans
  • Andrew Yonelinas (University of California, Davis): Consolidation Theory Reconsidered: Evidence in Favor of a Context Model

Short Spoken Presentations

  • Lynn J. Lohnas, Lila Davachi (New York University): Time-resolved memory reinstatement and separation during memory decisions
  • Christoph T. Weidemann, Michael J. Kahana (University of Pennsylvania): EEG activity reveals dynamics of recognition memory
  • John H. Wittig, Jr., Kareem A. Zaghloul (NINDS): Attention enhances verbal memory by suppressing background activity in the human anterior temporal lobe
  • Gregory E. Cox, Pernille Hemmer, Amy H. Criss (Syracuse University): Information and Processes Underlying Semantic and Episodic Memory Across Tasks, Items, and Individuals
  • Deborah Talmi, Lynn Lohnas, Nathaniel Daw (University of Manchester): Context at the helm of the emotional modulation of memory
  • Dulas, M.R., Duff, M.C., Cohen, N.J. (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): The Impact of Age, Attention, and Brain Lesions on Context Boundary effects
  • Neal W. Morton, Alison R. Preston (The University of Texas at Austin): Medial prefrontal cortex supports flexible memory retrieval
  • Kenneth J. Malmberg, Sudeep Sarkar (University of South Florida): A Bayesian Network Model of the Reinstatement of Autobiographical Context
  • Lili Sahakyan (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign): Principles of memory search shed light on the instability in memory phenomena
  • M. Karl Healey (Michigan State University): Temporal Contiguity in Incidentally Encoded Memories
  • Anna C. Schapiro, Elizabeth A. McDevitt, Sara C. Mednick, Timothy T. Rogers, Kenneth A. Norman (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School): Enhancement and prioritization of structured information over sleep and wake
  • Yang Liu, Jeremy B. Caplan (Presenting) (University of Alberta, Edmonton): Backward serial recall of chunked lists challenges the independence assumption of positional coding models
  • Caterina Cinel, Cathleen Cortis Mack, Geoff Ward (University of Alberta): Towards augmented human memory: Retrieval practice and Retrieval-Induced Forgetting in the real world
  • Maureen Ritchey, Andrew P. Yonelinas, Charan Ranganath (Boston College): Separable neural systems for encoding emotion and context information in episodic memory
  • Robert Nosofsky (Indiana University): High-Dimensional Category Representations
  • Nicole M. Long, Michael R. Sperling, Gregory A. Worrell, Kathryn A. Davis, Robert E. Gross, Bradley C. Lega, Barbara C. Jobst, Sameer A. Sheth, Kareem Zaghloul, Joel M. Stein, Michael J. Kahana (University of Oregon): Contextually mediated spontaneous retrieval is specific to the hippocampus

Past Symposia

For information about past CEMS events, please click here.