Personal semantic memory: Insights from neuropsychological research on amnesia

Matthew D. Grilli, Mieke Verfaellie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper provides insight into the cognitive and neural mechanisms of personal semantic memory, knowledge that is specific and unique to individuals, by reviewing neuropsychological research on stable amnesia secondary to medial temporal lobe damage. The results reveal that personal semantic memory does not depend on a unitary set of cognitive and neural mechanisms. Findings show that autobiographical fact knowledge reflects an experience-near type of personal semantic memory that relies on the medial temporal lobe for retrieval, albeit less so than personal episodic memory. Additional evidence demonstrates that new autobiographical fact learning likely relies on the medial temporal lobe, but the extent to which remains unclear. Other findings show that retrieval of personal traits/roles and new learning of personal traits/roles and thoughts/beliefs are independent of the medial temporal lobe and thus may represent highly conceptual types of personal semantic memory that are stored in the neocortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-64
Number of pages9
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Amnesia
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Personal semantic memory
  • Self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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