Evidence against a semantic-episodic distinction

John R. Anderson, Brian H. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reports 3 experiments that provide new evidence against the semantic (S)-episodic (E) distinction. The experiments tested whether learning E material interferes with the retrieval of S information. 131 Ss aged 17-34 yrs participated. The dependent measure was the time to respond true or false to a categorization statement (e.g., "A spaniel is a dog."). Before participating in that task, Ss learned sentences that provided information about the item and category. Results indicate that the time to make the S judgment was affected by the item-category relation in the prior study sentences. Generally, the study effects, as well as some other findings, were correctly predicted by the ACT theory (J. R. Anderson, 1976), which makes no S-E distinction. However, contrary to the ACT theory, it was found that learning additional information about a concept does not interfere with (and possibly facilitates) making positive S memory judgments. (52 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-466
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1980
Externally publishedYes


  • learning of episodic material, retrieval of semantic information, 17-34 yr olds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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