Human memory is often divided into two basic subdivisions: declarative memory, or knowledge of facts, and procedural memory, or recall of how to perform a task. Questions that can be answered by who, what, where, or when are examples of declarative memory. (“What is the capital of Delaware?” “What is a quadratic equation?”) The declarative memory can be thought of as a “what” system in contrast to the procedural “how” system. Knowing how to ride a bicycle, whistle for a taxi, or flip an omelet are examples of procedural memory.

Procedural memories are the collections of skills that we think of as automatic once we have learned them. They require little conscious thought in a neurologically intact individual. One of the hallmarks of procedural memories is ...

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