Cognitive Psychology provides student readers with essential help with all aspects of their first course in cognitive psychology, including advice on revising for exams, preparing and writing course assessment materials, and enhancing and progressing their knowledge and skills in line with course requirements in cognitive psychology.

Episodic and Semantic Memory

Episodic and Semantic Memory

Episodic and semantic memory

Core Areas

  • Episodic memory
  • Semantic memory

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this chapter you should be able to:

  • describe each of the types of memory outlined above; and
  • understand the extent to which this is a useful distinction based on the appropriate research evidence.

Running Themes

  • Cognitive neuropsychology
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Ecological validity
  • Experimental cognitive psychology
  • Schema
  • Semantics


Unlike other memory models this one proposes that there are different systems for holding information about the world. This is a theory of LTM.

Key Thinkers

Tulving (1972)

Distinguished between episodic and semantic memory. Episodic memory involves the storage and retrieval of specific events (including place and time). Semantic memory stores information/meaning about the world including general and abstract facts.

Episodic is a ‘knowing when’ memory, semantic is a ‘knowing what’ memory.

Wheeler, Stuss & Tulving (1997)

Believed that episodic ...

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