Procedural memory refers to a type of long-term memory that is responsible for storing and retrieving information related to actions, processes, and skills. It allows individuals to learn and perform tasks automatically without conscious effort or awareness.


Procedural memory is characterized by the following features:

  1. Implicit: Procedural memory operates on an unconscious level, meaning that individuals often have difficulty explaining or verbalizing the steps involved in a particular action or skill.
  2. Automaticity: Once a skill or procedure is acquired, it can be executed with little to no conscious thought or effort. The process becomes automatic and typically requires minimal attention.
  3. Resistance to Forgetting: Once fully encoded, procedural memories tend to be long-lasting and resistant to forgetting. This allows individuals to retain and perform learned skills even after extended periods of non-use.
  4. Enhanced with Practice: Procedural memory is heavily reliant on repetition and practice. Consistent rehearsal of a skill or action strengthens the neural connections associated with the memory, resulting in improved performance over time.


Common examples of procedural memory include:

  • Tying shoelaces
  • Riding a bicycle
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Typing on a keyboard
  • Swimming
  • Driving a car

Neurological Basis

Procedural memory is primarily associated with the basal ganglia, specifically the striatum, which is involved in the initiation, execution, and refinement of procedural tasks. Additionally, the cerebellum plays a crucial role in the formation and retrieval of procedural memories, particularly those related to motor skills.