Repetition priming of novel stimuli (pseudowords) and stimuli with preexisting representations (words) was compared in two experiments. In one, 19 normal male subjects performed a lexical decision task with either focused or divided attention. In another, lexical decision performance was compared between 8 male Koraskoff patients and 8 alcoholic control subjects. In control conditions, repetition speeded responses to both stimulus types. Experimental conditions that minimuzed the contribution of episodic memory to task performance eliminated reaction time priming for pseudowords but not for words. However, in these same conditions, repetition increased the likelihood that pseudowords would be incorrectly classified. These results indicate that preserved repetition priming effects in amnesia do not solely reflect activation of representations in semantic memory.