Explicit Memories and Implicit Memories



Explicit Memories and Implicit Memories

In everyday life, when people speak of memory, they are almost always speaking about what psychologists would call explicit memories. An explicit memory is a conscious or intentional recollection, usually of facts, names, events, or other things that a person can state or declare. There is another kind of memory that is not conscious. Memories of this kind are called implicit memories. An individual can have an experience that he or she cannot consciously recall yet still display reactions that indicate the experience has been somehow recorded in his or her brain.

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    <-NARRATOR:-> Now listen to part of a lecture on this topic in a psychology class.
    <-MALE PROFESSOR:-> OK, uh... the first kind of memory, we're all very familiar with this, right?
    You probably remember what you had for dinner last night - you have a Conscious Memory of last night's dinner.
    So, um, if I ask you 'what did you eat last night?' you could tell me.
    But these other kind of memories - 'implicit Memories', they work differently.
    Let's take an example from the world of advertising.
    [pause] When you're driving along a highway, you'll see plenty of billboards - you know, road-side advertisements.
    You certainly don't remember them all.
    But they still affect you.
    Marketing researchers have shown, well, to be specific, let's say there's a billboard on the highway advertising a ... car, called the 'Panther'.
    The ad shows a big picture of a car and above the car in huge letters is the name of the car- 'Panther'.
    A lot of people drive by the billboard.
    [pause] But ask those drivers later if they saw any advertisements for cars, and well, they'll think about it and a lot of them will say 'no'.
    They honestly don't remember seeing any.
    They have no conscious memory of the 'Panther' billboard.
    So, you ask the same people a different question.
    You ask, um...ok, um...you ask them to name an animal starting with the letter 'p'.
    What do you think they'll answer?
    Do they say 'pig'?
    'Pig' is the most common animal that starts with the letter 'p', but they don't say 'pig'.
    They say 'Panther'.
    The billboard had an effect even though the drivers don't remember ever seeing it.


Using the example of the car advertisement, explain what is meant by implicit memory.


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