Implicit working memory

Ran R. Hassin*, John A. Bargh, Andrew D. Engell, Kathleen C. McCulloch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Working Memory (WM) plays a crucial role in many high-level cognitive processes (e.g., reasoning, decision making, goal pursuit and cognitive control). The prevalent view holds that active components of WM are predominantly intentional and conscious. This conception is oftentimes expressed explicitly, but it is best reflected in the nature of major WM tasks: All of them are blatantly explicit. We developed two new WM paradigms that allow for an examination of the role of conscious awareness in WM. Results from five studies show that WM can operate unintentionally and outside of conscious awareness, thus suggesting that the current view should be expanded to include implicit WM.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)665-678
Number of pages14
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Automaticity
  • Consciousness
  • Executive functions
  • Unconscious
  • Working memory


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