Life experiences and facts are one type of memory. Riding a bike is another: it’s a skill, or a learned pattern of movement that neurologists refer to as ‘procedural memory’, more commonly known as ‘muscle memory’. This is a type of unconscious, long-term memory, where a person can recollect something without having to think; they have no direct, conscious awareness.

Advertisement

There are, of course, lots of skills – like driving a car or tying your shoelaces – that are so embedded in our minds that we barely have to think about them.

It’s not clear why procedural memories are harder to forget than others, but it might have something to do with where they’re stored in the brain; an area that seems relatively protected and resistant to rewiring.

Read more:

Asked by: Lucy Hannigan, Sunderland

Advertisement

To submit your questions email us at questions@sciencefocus.com (don't forget to include your name and location)

Authors

Hayley is a science writer and (sustainably sourced) fish finger sandwich fan, based in Bristol, UK.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement