Semantic Memory

Semantic memory is a type of long-term memory that represents general knowledge and concepts about the world, independent of personal experiences. It encompasses our understanding of language, facts, ideas, and meanings.

Characteristics of Semantic Memory

Semantic memory can be described by the following characteristics:

  • General Knowledge: Semantic memory stores information about concepts, categories, and their properties that are shared among various individuals.
  • Objective Information: It contains factual knowledge that is unrelated to personal experiences or emotions.
  • Conceptual Hierarchy: Semantic memory organizes information hierarchically, where more general concepts are at the top and more specific ones are at the bottom.
  • Language-Based: Language plays a vital role in semantic memory, as it helps in the encoding, retrieval, and communication of semantic knowledge.
  • Contextual Independence: Semantic memory is not strongly influenced by the context in which the information was learned but focuses on the underlying meaning and relationships between concepts.
  • Gradual Development: Semantic memory develops and expands throughout a person’s lifetime, with new knowledge being continuously acquired and integrated.
Examples of Semantic Memory

Instances of semantic memory include:

  • Knowing that Paris is the capital of France.
  • Recognizing that a dog is a mammal.
  • Understanding the meaning of words and phrases.
  • Recalling historical events and their details.
  • Identifying colors, shapes, and sizes of objects.