Varieties of Memory and Consciousness: Essays in Honour of Endel Tulving

By Endel Tulving III; Henry L. Roediger III et al. | Go to book overview

13
Experimental Dissociations
and the Episodic/Semantic
Memory Distinction

James H. Neely State University of New York at Albany

Endel Tulving has made many significant and seminal contributions to the theoretical and empirical study of human memory. They include his research on organizational processes (e.g., Tulving, 1962), the efficacy of retrieval cues (e.g., Tulving & Osler, 1968; Tulving & Pearlstone, 1966; Tulving & Psotka, 1971), the encoding specificity principle (e.g., Tulving & Thomson, 1973), and the relationship between recall and recognition (e.g., Flexser & Tulving, 1978; Tulving, 1976, Tulving & Thomson, 1973; Tulving & Wiseman, 1975). However, as important as these contributions have been for mainstream memory researchers, Tulving is probably most well known (particularly to "outsiders" such as linguists, philosophers, and social psychologists) for the distinction he has made between episodic and semantic memory (e.g., Tulving, 1972, 1984, 1985).

In this chapter, I provide a conceptual and methodological analysis of the experimental methods and results that one can use to support the distinction between episodic and semantic memory and/or other memory systems. In particular, I focus on the procedures and logic that constitute the experimental dissociation paradigm with nonamnesic human subjects. In so doing, I highlight my points by selectively citing the literature and by emphasizing recent research from my laboratory. I justify this selectivity on the basis of there already being several extensive reviews of the many empirical studies relevant to the episodic/semantic memory distinction (e.g., Anderson & Ross, 1980; McKoon, Ratcliff, & Dell, 1986; Richardson-Klavehn & Bjork, 1988; Shoben, 1984; Tulving, 1983, 1984).

In Section 1 of this essay, I begin by briefly reviewing Tulving's episodic/semantic memory distinction and how the experimental dissociation para

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