The ability to engage semantic search strategies was assessed in a group of patients with dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT) (n = 11) and a group of age-matched control subjects (n = 13). The subjects performed a semantic priming task in which attentional priming was induced by manipulating the expected relationship between the primes and targets. Older control subjects were able to predict target words on the basis of expectancy, regardless of the semantic relationship between the prime and target. The DAT patients were also able to predict targets on the basis of expectancy, but only when the prime and target were semantically related. These results suggest that the structure of semantic memory remains intact in DAT, and that semantic memory retrieval may be facilitated by providing DAT patients with appropriate search strategies.