What is it about?

We studied the differences in the rates at which people forget implicit and explicit knowledge. Implicit knowledge refers to knowledge that is unconscious or automatic, such as knowing how to ride a bike, while explicit knowledge is more conscious and can be verbalized, such as knowing the capital of a country. The paper aims to examine the forgetting of implicit and explicit knowledge over time, and to test whether a single mechanism, called interference, can explain the observed patterns. Interference occurs when new information disrupts the ability to recall previously learned information. We found that forgetting of explicit knowledge was greater than forgetting of implicit knowledge, and that this difference could be explained by interference. The results of the study have implications for theories about the nature of implicit and explicit knowledge and how they are stored in memory.

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Why is it important?

These findings may have conceptual and philosophical implications as they touch upon the nature of knowledge itself, and whether certain types of knowledge may be more prone to interference and forgetting than others. This adds to the ongoing debate about whether implicit and explicit forms of knowledge are based on the same underlying memory system or on multiple memory systems.


I did these experiments as part of my PhD and had an awesome supervisor who really helped me along the way. We worked together as a great team. As a researcher, I'm really proud of the work we did and the insights we gained through these studies. This was a crucial part of my research journey, and it even led me to supervise and coauthor a couple more papers on related topics later on in my career.

Dr. Ricardo M Tamayo
Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Interference Produces Different Forgetting Rates for Implicit and Explicit Knowledge, Experimental Psychology (formerly Zeitschrift für Experimentelle Psychologie), January 2007, Hogrefe Publishing Group,
DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169.54.4.304.
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