Implicit & Explicit Memory

By Kierstin Melnick

We have all experienced long-term memory.

It's the memory of your Grandmother's house upon smelling fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies. It's the happy reminder of a fun inside joke with a friend when you hear a certain word or phrase. It's the sad remembrance of a last conversation with a loved one upon seeing something of theirs. These are all long-term memories.


Long term memory is defined as the storage of information over extended periods of time (Hockenbury 238). These memories usually last a lifetime and the storage for them in your mind is limitless, contrary to the storage for short term memory.

Implicit Memory.

There are two important parts of long term memory: implicit and explicit memory. The first one, implicit memory, is a non-declarative memory, which is memory without a conscious recall. A few examples of this are: driving, brushing your teeth, typing on a keyboard, and dialing a phone (livescience.com). While these memories are not consciously connected (you don't think about brushing your teeth, you just do it), they still affect our behavior.

Explicit Memory.

Explicit memories are the ones we are able to recall. This is why they are called declarative memories. We are able to recount episodic (events) and semantic (general knowledge) in this memory. Some examples of it are: what you wore to the party last weekend, the names of the bones you studied for your anatomy test, the lines for a play you are in. These are all things that you remember consciously doing.

Conclusion.

Explicit and Implicit memories are both very essential to our well-being and to the efficiency of our memory. Without them our memories would be mismatched and unorganized, complicating our daily routines and lives.