Models of Semantic Memory

Michael N Jones, Jon Anthony Willits, Simon Dennis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Meaning is a fundamental component of nearly all aspects of human cognition, but formal models of semantic memory have classically lagged behind many other areas of cognition. However, computational models of semantic memory have seen a surge of progress in the last two decades, advancing our knowledge of how meaning is constructed from experience, how knowledge is represented and used, and what processes are likely to be culprit in disorders characterized by semantic impairment. This chapter provides an overview of several recent clusters of models and trends in the literature, including modern connectionist and distributional models of semantic memory, and contemporary advances in grounding semantic models with perceptual information and models of compositional semantics. Several common lessons have emerged from both the connectionist and distributional literatures, and we attempt to synthesize these themes to better focus future developments in semantic modeling.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Computational and Mathematical Psychology
EditorsJerome R Busemeyer, Zheng Wang, James T Townsend, Ami Eidels
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199957996
StatePublished - Apr 2015

Publication series

NameOxford Library of Psychology


  • semantic memory
  • semantic space model
  • distributional semantics
  • connectionist network
  • concepts
  • cognitive model
  • latent semantic analysis


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