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Explicit Memory

Explicit memory, also known as declarative memory, is one of the two main types of long-term human memory, the other one being implicit memory. Explicit memory can be defined as the conscious, intentional recollection of information, previous experiences, and concepts for definitive purposes. This type of memory is mainly dependent on three processes

  • Acquisition
  • Consolidation, and 
  • Retrieval

Explicit memory can be divided into two broad categories – episodic memory, which is responsible for storing specific personal experiences, and semantic memory, which is used to store factual information. Explicit memory needs the process of gradual learning, with multiple presentations of a stimulus and its corresponding response.

The counterpart to this type of memory is known as implicit memory and it refers to memories that are acquired and used unconsciously such as skills like knowing how to get dressed or perception. Unlike the former, implicit memory acquisition occurs rapidly, even from a single stimulus, and is influenced by other mental systems.

Sometimes a distinction is made between explicit memory and the term that is often used synonymously with it, declarative memory. In such cases, the former relates to any type of conscious memory, and declarative memory refers to any kind of memory that can be described in the form of words. However, if it is assumed that memory cannot be described without being conscious, then the two concepts are identical.

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