The Breadth of Memory Search

Document Type


Publication Date


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



The recall of previously studied items is widely believed to incorporate a search of a markedly constrained set of possibilities, and the present study examines whether this set of items typically includes unstudied semantic associates of the study items. In an episodic task, participants recalled a previously studied list of eight exemplars drawn from a small or large category, and, in a semantic task, participants generated exemplars from these categories. Category size affected the time course of recall in the semantic task but not in the episodic task. This empirical dissociation between episodic and semantic memory is consistent with the view that episodic memory search efficiently excludes unstudied semantic associates of the study items and is instead constrained to those items sharing the temporal and spatial attributes of the episode.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

Memory, v. 10, issue 4, p. 291-301