Episodic knowledge and implicit learning

Andrew Neal*, Beryl Hesketh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite nearly 20 years of controversy, researchers are still divided over the contributions of abstract and episodic knowledge to performance on implicit learning tasks, and whether these types of knowledge exert their effects unintentionally or unconsciously. The present paper reviews the evidence taken to support the episodic account of implicit learning. Although substantial evidence suggests that episodic knowledge influences performance on implicit learning tasks, at present there are no techniques for testing whether these influences occur outside of awareness. It is argued that future research should investigate whether the retrieval of episodic knowledge in implicit learning tasks is insensitive to intentional control, rather than focus on the issue of awareness. Preliminary evidence suggesting that episodic knowledge can exert a nonintentional influence on task performance is reviewed, followed by a discussion of the status of consciousness as an explanatory construct in psychology.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-37
    Number of pages14
    JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997

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