The present research was concerned with anterograde and retrograde memory for a socially transmitted food preference in rats with lesions to the dorsal hippocampus or dorsomedial thalamus, and operated controls. In Expt. 1, food-preference training was administered postoperatively and memory was tested following various delays. Both lesioned groups acquired the preference normally, but rats with hippocampal lesions displayed a rapid rate of forgetting that indicated significant anterograde amnesia. In Expt. 2, the food preference was acquired at different times preoperatively and retrograde memory was tested postoperatively. Both lesioned groups exhibited loss of memory when training immediately preceded surgery, but only rats with hippocampal lesions displayed a temporally-graded retrograde amnesia. The results confirmed the differential effects of hippocampal and thalamic lesions on memory performance. It was suggested that memory loss following thalamic lesions was related to factors associated with original learning, whereas the pattern of hippocampal amnesia reflected disruption at a later stage in the learning process.