New semantic learning and generalization in a patient with amnesia

Craig Stark, Shauna Stark, Barry Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New learning of semantic information is impaired in amnesia. Several reports have demonstrated that "errorless" learning techniques have allowed patients with amnesia to acquire at least some form of new semantic information, although this information appears to be relatively inflexible. Using insights and principles from connectionist modeling of cortical and medial temporal lobe memory systems, the authors describe why errorless learning procedures act as a poor proxy for the medial temporal lobe, suggesting that they artificially eliminate the variability that defines semantic information. The authors trained a patient with severe amnesia on new semantic sentences both with and without variance and then tested him on both repeated and related novel sentences to assess generalization. He successfully learned new semantic information in both conditions but demonstrated better generalization of semantic concepts following training with variance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-151
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2005


  • Declarative memory
  • Errorless learning
  • Medial temporal lobe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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