Explicit and Implicit Memory



In life, we can learn in different ways. One way is to learn without awareness or intention, and the other way we learn is with rules and discipline.  According to Wikipedia,

“A dual process theory provides an account of how a phenomenon can occur in two different ways, or as a result of two different processes… the two processes consist of an implicit (automatic), unconscious process and an explicit (controlled), conscious process.” (Dual process theory, n.d.).

These processes we can find in some attitudes in our daily lives and through our learning.


I know that a learner is always aware of what they are doing and learning. Also, I know that learning and awareness are correlated very well. But, implicit learning makes me confused.

What is the difference between the implicit and explicit memory?

According to Hall, “Implicit memories are nonconscious, and often involve memories for specific step-by-step procedures, or specific feelings/emotions.” (Hall, 1998, p. 1). This means that implicit memory is any everyday activity that repeats over time again. For example, there are many activities we do automatically in everyday life that rely on implicit memory. In fact, we can do these things but we cannot explain how we are able to do them, such as using a keyboard; some people do not need to look at each key because they are able to type without looking. This type of learning happens without an intention to learn and without awareness.  According to Roediger,  

“Humans learn many skills in which conscious remembering is unlikely to play much of a role, such as the sequences of finger movements involved in typewriting or tying one’s shoes, the virtuoso performances of gymnasts or ice skaters, and many more mundane activities such as driving or shaving. People are unlikely to recall how to perform these skills; rather, when placed in the appropriate situation the person performs with little conscious awareness of how the behavior runs off.” (Roediger, 1990, p.1).


This means that the adaptation and repetition have an important role in this process. .On the other hand, explicit memory is another type of learning.  According to Hall, “Explicit memories are conscious memories that can easily be verbalized.” (Roediger, 1998, p. 1). This means that we aware of some activities that we do in everyday life.




Through the video below , we can understand more about the differences between the implicit and explicit memory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-W6TDYi0Cw.





Nellen, T. (2011, July 15). Summer Reading – Chapter Ten [Web log]. Cyber English. Retrieved from http://tednellen.blogspot.ca/2011/07/summer-reading-chapter-ten.html

Dual process theory. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 28, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_process_theory

Ferrigan, E. (2011, Aug 1). Implicit and Explicit Memory [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-W6TDYi0Cw

Hall, R. (1998). Implicit and Explicit Memory. Retrieved from http://web.mst.edu/~rhall/neuroscience/06_complex_learning/explicit_implicit.pdf

Roediger, H. L. (1990). Implicit memory: Retention without remembering. American psychologist45(9), 1043.

Picture from http://www.piicss.com/img/12/b61f529fdae3d0abc89a5923ff8fceec.jpg



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