Performing mundane tasks, like brushing your teeth, or remembering the lyrics to a song you haven’t heard in years, are examples of implicit memory.

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Implicit memory influences your behavior, but you do not need to concentrate to retrieve them.

Memory involves more than simply recalling facts for a test or remembering to pick up milk on your way home from work. Certain memories are stored without your conscious input, or you can recall them without trying.

This type of memory, known as implicit memory, can influence your behavior. It also plays a role in completing daily tasks, such as typing or getting dressed in the morning.

Implicit memory is a type of long-term memory that involves storing and recalling information that you do not consciously think about. These types of memories can influence your behavior.

Recalling implicit memory requires no conscious thought and can occur without you realizing it. For example, you may not have ridden a bike for years, but when you get on a bike again, your body instantly knows what to do.

Of course, learning to ride a bike requires conscious effort, but once you learn, your body and mind intrinsically remember how to do it.

Implicit memory gets stored in both the basal ganglia and cerebellum. The basal ganglia helps with several processes, including:

  • emotions
  • movement
  • learning
  • habit forming

The cerebellum helps with fine motor control.

Research from 2020 suggests that people living with frontal lobe damage and Alzheimer’s disease still retain their implicit memory since it’s stored in unaffected areas.

Types of implicit memory include priming and procedural memory.


Priming occurs when a stored memory from a previous activity or experience influences your behavior without deliberate retrieval of the memory or necessarily understanding why you’re reacting to it the way you are.

As an example, if you watch a horror movie and scream during the scary parts, you may find yourself screaming if a person startles you later that day or week. In this case, similar stimuli you encounter may cause your body and mind to react the same way.

Procedural memory

Procedural memory is involved when completing tasks that do not require conscious thought once learned.

For example, typing on a keyboard, getting dressed, or taking the steps to boil water are all examples of procedural memory. At one point, you needed to learn the skill, but once learned, it’s possible to do without thinking about it.

Implicit memory helps with a variety of tasks that you probably do most days without thinking about it.

Procedural memory examples can include:

  • walking
  • driving a car
  • riding a bicycle
  • typing on a computer
  • boiling a pot of water
  • routine self-care, like showering, getting dressed, or brushing your teeth
  • knowing how to navigate your neighborhood, office, home, or school

Priming occurs when experiences influence your behavior. Some examples of priming can include:

  • remembering the words to a song after hearing the first few notes
  • craving a cigarette immediately following a meal
  • reacting the same way to scary situations
  • singing along to a song you’ve heard

Implicit memory vs. explicit memory

Explicit memory is another type of long-term memory. It involves conscious memories of people, events, or facts you commit to memory.

Two types of explicit memory include semantic memory and episodic memory.

Semantic memory involves remembering general knowledge about the world. Episodic memory involves recalling details about events throughout your life.

In general, you can think about explicit memories and recall the events or facts, but you are not able to recall or explain implicit memories as well. Instead, they influence your behaviors when you’re presented with similar stimuli, or they take over when completing mundane tasks, like typing.

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Several tests can help assess implicit memory.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), implicit memory tests can be verbal or nonverbal. They can also test perceptual, conceptual, and procedural memory.

Examples of implicit memory tests include:


  • Conceptual: general knowledge tests and category production tests
  • Perceptual: word-stem completion
  • Procedural: reading inverted text


  • Conceptual: object categorization
  • Perceptual: picture-fragment identification
  • Procedural: mirror drawing

In some experiments, a person may complete words during a word fragment completion test. In this type of test, a researcher presents a part of a common word, and the person fills in the missing letters to create a word.

A more popular example of testing implicit memory involves a TikTok trend known as “blind” karaoke. This trend involves recording someone singing karaoke without words.

The person performing relies on hearing the music to recall and sing the words as the music plays. Without realizing it, singing the song without seeing the lyrics invokes their implicit memory.

Implicit memory does not involve conscious control of the memory. It either occurs in response to similar stimuli or helps you with completing mundane tasks that do not require you to think about the action.

Implicit memory helps with different activities, such as:

  • getting dressed
  • riding a bike
  • typing
  • writing
  • walking

Once you learn these tasks, you no longer need to put thought toward them.

It can also help guide behaviors without you realizing it. Singing a song with just music and no words is a great example of using implicit memory because simply hearing the song allows your brain to create the connection.