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Implicit Memory

 

Explanations > Memory > Implicit Memory

Description | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

Implicit memory is unconscious remembering, where knowledge is brought straight from memory into action. When we decide to do something familiar, we do not think hard about it. We just do it. Implicit memory is used in this to help us act without having to resort to conscious thought.

We use implicit memory in singing songs, using keyboards, driving and a host of other common activities.

Discussion

Implicit memory 'just happens' as we recall things unconsciously. This unconscious factor may well mean that we do not even realize that we are remembering. This makes it important in priming, where information is deliberately planted so that it will be influence later decisions. This is a common principle used in a range of in persuasive methods.

'Mastery' is often a concern in various professions, where the master smoothly and easily completes even complex tasks. A part of becoming a master is in building a large store of implicit memories that can quickly be brought to mind whenever there is something to be done.

Implicit memory can also be a trap as we unconsciously assume what happened in the the past is correct. This creates an illusion of certainty and false truth that can cause conflict and other problems.

The opposite of implicit memory is explicit memory, where you have to put conscious effort into recalling the item in question.

So what?

To build your implicit memory in doing things, do lots of practice, repeating the activity in order to embed it in your implicit memory. This will help you 'just do' things without having to think much about how it should be done.

See also

Priming

 

Schacter, D. L. (1987). Implicit memory: history and current status. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13, 501-518.

 

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