Presents an overview of empirical research on cognitive dysfunctions characteristic of alcoholic Korsakoff's syndrome (KS). Recent evidence shows that, apart from severe anterograde and retrograde memory deficits, Korsakoff's pathology can include pronounced emotional abnormalities and impairments in executive functioning (e.g., problem solving, cognitive flexibility, set shifting, and task monitoring). Neurological studies have consistently revealed lesions in diencephalic and prefrontal brain areas among KS patients. It is assumed that damage in mammillary regions and the thalamus are determinants of amnesic symptoms, whereas observed executive dysfunctions more likely result from damage in the prefrontal lobe. Future research will more closely examine the causes of brain changes in KS, discerning between the primary neurotoxic effects of alcohol consumption on the one hand, and the secondary effects of malnutrition and/or vitamin deficiencies on the other. A further topic of inquiry will concern symptom specificity in KS, alcohol-addiction, and alcohol-related dementia.