Examples of Semantic Memory

, Staff Writer
Updated January 20, 2021
young boy using semantic memory for math problem
    young boy using semantic memory for math problem
    IAN BODDY/SPL / Science Photo Library / Getty Images Plus
    Used under Getty Images license

The term semantic memory refers to a part of the long term memory. This part of long term memory deals with ideas and concepts that are not drawn from personal experience. Dive into some examples of semantic memory.

Some Examples of Semantic Memory

Semantic memory includes basic knowledge stored in your brain like sounds that letters make and recognizing color names. Explore other examples of semantic memory.

  • The meaning of letters
  • The concept of what a cat is
  • The idea of what a car is
  • How letters put together can make a word
  • The knowledge that Annapolis is the capital city in Maryland
  • Word definitions
  • The dates of when World War II began and ended
  • Knowing what a dinosaur is
  • Recalling who wrote "Walking Through Woods on a Snowy Night"
  • Knowledge of what a phone is used for
  • Knowing how to make a pulley
  • Knowing where Mongolia is located on a map
  • Remembering what a computer is
  • The knowledge that fish swim in the water
  • The knowledge that owls are nocturnal
  • Knowing deer can be hunted
  • Knowledge of what constitutes a chair
  • Knowing what a broom is used for
  • To know where to find a parrot
  • Remember what foods are popular in Cambodia
  • Knowledge of what a book is
  • Knowing how to use scissors
  • Knowing what a tree looks like
  • Recalling what a bear looks like
  • Knowing what a blender is used for
  • Knowing the difference between a cow and a bird
  • Recalling the dates of each of the battles in the War of 1812
  • Knowing what sunglasses look like
  • Recalling the usage of a mandolin vegetable slicer
  • Knowing the names of shapes
  • Knowing what snow is
  • Knowing what the moon is
  • Recalling the water cycle
  • Knowing the typical dress of colonial Americans
  • Knowing what privateering is
  • Recalling where Maine is located
  • Knowing that Washington D.C. is the capital of the U.S.
  • Remembering the names of the first astronauts to go into space
  • Knowing the usage of a stapler
  • Knowing for what purpose one would use a spoon
  • Knowing what to use a whisk for

What Is Semantic Memory?

Semantic memory is associated with facts and continues to grow as you age. It doesn’t have any association with personal experience or emotions. It is different from episodic memory.

Semantic vs. Episodic Memory

While semantic memory is based on facts like knowing how to type on a keyboard. Episodic memory is all about your personal experiences like remembering your wedding day or the first day of college. Check out a few different examples of these two types of memory.

  • semantic memory - knowing where 911 happened in the U.S.
  • episodic memory - recalling where you were when 911 happened
  • semantic memory - knowing what a hampster is
  • episodic memory - recalling when you bought your pet hampster home

What is Declarative Memory?

Semantic memory is part of what is called declarative memory. Declarative memory:

  • is made up of episodic and semantic memory
  • is built and used by children as they encounter new ideas
  • is associated with facts
  • can be recalled
  • also called explicit memory because data in the brain is so explicitly filed and retrieved

Explicit vs. Implicit Memory

Explicit is the opposite of implicit memory which is also called procedural memory. Implicit memory is related to the unconscious ability to retrieve information about how to perform a task. After much research on amnesic patients, researchers believe that both of these types of memory are located in different areas of the brain and largely act independently.


Understanding Semantic Memory

So now you can see more about how semantic memory works by understanding some examples of this type of memory. Keep your exploration of memory types going by looking at what are the different types of memory and iconic memory examples.