An historical perspective on Endel Tulving's episodic-semantic distinction

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Abstract

The distinction between episodic and semantic memory, proposed by Endel Tulving in 1972, remains a key concept in contemporary Cognitive Neuroscience. Here we review how this distinction evolved in Tulving`s writings over the years. Crucially, from 1972 onward, he argued that the two forms of memory were inter-dependent and that their interaction was an essential feature of normal episodic memory function. Moreover, later elaborations of the theory clearly proposed that these interactions formed the basis of normal declarative memory functioning. A later but crucial aspect of Tulving’s contribution was his stress on the importance of subjective experience, which, according to him, “should be the ultimate object of interest, the central aspect of remembering that is to be explained and understood”. We relate these and his numerous other ideas to current perspectives about the organization and function of human memory.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107366
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume139
Early online date30 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2020

Keywords

  • AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY
  • Autonoesis
  • BRAIN ACTIVITY
  • COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE
  • COMPLEMENTARY LEARNING-SYSTEMS
  • Chronesthesia
  • Ecphory
  • Episodic memory
  • FRONTAL LOBES
  • FUTURE THINKING
  • LONG-TERM-MEMORY
  • PARIETAL LOBE
  • PREFRONTAL CORTEX
  • Semantic memory
  • VISUAL PERSPECTIVE

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