A Critical Evaluation of the Semantic-Episodic Distinction

Gail McKoon, Roger Ratcliff, Gary S. Dell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tulving (1983, 1984) has recently claimed that a wide range of evidence supports the distinction between episodic and semantic memory systems. He has provided a list of features to describe the differences between the two systems and a set of experimental results to demonstrate the distinction. In this article, we present opposing evidence that invalidates many of the distinguishing features and contradicts interpretations of the supporting experiments. In addition, we argue that the question of whether there are two separate memory systems cannot be answered without a specific theory about the differences between the systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-306
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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