Preserved recognition in a case of developmental amnesia: implications for the acquisition of semantic memory?

J Cogn Neurosci. 2001 Apr 1;13(3):357-69. doi: 10.1162/08989290151137403.


We report the performance on recognition memory tests of Jon, who, despite amnesia from early childhood, has developed normal levels of performance on tests of intelligence, language, and general knowledge. Despite impaired recall, he performed within the normal range on each of six recognition tests, but he appears to lack the recollective phenomenological experience normally associated with episodic memory. His recall of previously unfamiliar newsreel events was impaired, but gained substantially from repetition over a 2-day period. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the recollective process of episodic memory is not necessary either for recognition or for the acquisition of semantic knowledge.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amnesia, Anterograde / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Semantics*
  • Verbal Learning / physiology*