Preserved category learning in amnesia

Catherine Haslam*, Max Coltheart, Michael Cook

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper focuses on the new learning capacity of an individual suffering from global amnesia. During an initial intensive learning phase, a patient MK was exposed to two categories of novel items: animals and fruits/vegetables. His task was to learn the names of these unfamiliar pictures over a period of 4 weeks and at the end of each week his memory was examined using recall and matching-to-sample tests. No evidence of new learning was found using these methods. A series of binary forced-choice tasks was then administered as an alternative means of accessing information. Using this paradigm MK successfully discriminated between items in different categories. However, MK was unable to access the specific knowledge required to discriminate between items in the same category. This finding of preserved categorical and impaired exemplar knowledge in an amnesic patient is discussed in relation to the literature on semantic memory.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)337-347
    Number of pages11
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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