Different Types of Memory

Professor Howard Eichenbaum outlines the differences between declarative, procedural, and emotional memory.

Declarative memory is a very special kind of memory that is quite different than procedural and emotional memory. So declarative in general is defined as our everyday memory. It is what most people think of when they think of memory. It is our ability to remember what we did this morning, or had for breakfast, what television show we saw, what person we met. Procedural memory is our capacity to acquire habits and routines that we go through, typically that have a motor quality of doing the same thing over and over again in a somewhat ritualized fashion, although sometimes a fashion which can be molded to the particular occasion, for example learning to serve a tennis ball. There are generalities of what we learn and there are ways in which we can adjust to serving the tennis ball. On the other hand, we typically have a poor declarative memory. It is hard to describe how you hit the tennis ball on a particular occasion – so there’s an illustration of that separation. Similarly, for an emotional memory, we can have feelings about things even if we can’t remember the situation or why we feel bad about a particular situation, for instance. So we can separate a feeling one can acquire for a particular stimulus from one’s ability to remember their experience with the stimulus in the past.

memory, memories, declarative, emotional, procedural, implicit, explicit, howard, eichenbaum

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