Declarative Memory: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is Declarative Memory?
  • 1:02 Procedural Memory
  • 1:41 Semantic Memory
  • 2:24 Episodic Memory
  • 3:17 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Declarative memory is a type of long term memory. Learn more about declarative memory, how it differs from procedural memory, and the different types of declarative memory.

What Is Declarative Memory?

Imagine that you are having a conversation with your friend about food and she asks you about your favorite restaurant. You tell her the name of your favorite restaurant and the most recent meal that you ate there. She asks you for the nearest intersection and the address, which you easily recall without assistance from the internet or the phone book. You also tell her the restaurant's phone number, hours of operations, and the location of the nearest parking garage. The information that you gave your friend is an example of declarative memory.

Your ability to recall addresses, locations of parking garages, intersection names, phone numbers, and an experience that you had at a restaurant are all a part of declarative memory. Declarative memory, also referred to as explicit memory, is the memory of facts, data, and events. For example, let's say that you know that your favorite restaurant is only open until 6 PM on Sundays. The time that the restaurant closes is stored as a declarative memory. We can consciously recall declarative memory. Declarative memory is a type of long-term memory.

Procedural Memory

Procedural memory, the other type of long-term memory, can be defined as skill memory, or the memory of how to do things. Knowing how to walk, how to talk, and how to tie your shoe are examples of procedural memory. Unlike declarative memory, we are not consciously aware of our procedural memories. For example, we do not remember when or how we learned how to talk. Nor are we aware that when we are talking, we are actually remembering how to speak and using those memories to produce words and sounds. Talking is something that we do automatically without much thought behind the process. Now that we understand what declarative and procedural memory are, let's take a look at the two types of declarative memory.

Semantic Memory

One type of declarative memory is semantic memory. Semantic memory is your memory about general factual information, knowledge, and concepts about the world. Semantic memory refers to general knowledge about the world that you share with others and is not dependent upon context or personal experiences. Semantic memory is what allows us to recall that two plus two equals four or that the capital of the United States is Washington, DC. Other examples of semantic memory include:

  • The definition of the word psychology
  • The knowledge that an elephant is a gray animal
  • The understanding of the concept of time
  • The knowledge that Michigan is a state
  • How to spell your name

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