In my talk I will describe two memory systems that have received the bulk of theoretical and empirical attention over the last 25 years -- the episodic and semantic memory systems. I will then present evidence, both from normal subjects and from amnesic case studies, pointing toward the functional independence of these two systems. The amnesic material is particularly important because it allows us to view dissociations between two systems that interact so closely in normal memory operation that their independence is easily overlooked.
I then will discuss the role of these two systems in the representation
and utilization of knowledge about self. Finally, I will attempt to provide
one answer to the critically important, but seldom addressed question,
"What is the functional basis for episodic and semantic memory?" My answer
to this question will involve showing how interaction with the world would
be altered if one had only semantic (or episodic) memory. The evidence
I will discuss will come from the domain of person memory -- how we represent
knowledge about others and use that knowledge when making
judgments about the person's characteristics.
Klein received his Ph.D. from Harvard's Dept. of Psychology,
and is currently a member of UCSB's Psychology Department. His research
interests are in social cognition, with a particular focus on the mental
representation of trait and behavioral knowledge about self and other persons.
A larger goal of this research is to determine the extent to which a common
set of principles can explain the way in which knowledge of self and others
are represented in the mind.
Klein, S.B., Loftus, J., and Kihlstrom, J.F. (1996). Self-knowledge of an amnesic patient: Toward a neuropsychology of personality and social psychology. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 125, 250-260.
Klein, S.B. and Loftus, J. (1993). The mental representation of trait
and autobiographical knowledge about the self. In T.K. Srull & R.S.
Wyer (Eds.), Advances in Social Cognition, Vol. 5, pp. 1-49, Hillsdale,