Involuntary memory: features and development

Human memory is so multifaceted that it is difficult to describe it in a nutshell. Human intelligence differs from other inhabitants of the Earth in that it is endowed with very powerful properties. First of all, they are provided with memory. Without it, we cannot learn and think logically. There is voluntary and involuntary memory. The latter must be discussed separately.


When there is no regulation of a certain program, then such a process is called involuntary memory. It’s just that memorization in the human brain occurs in an involuntary way, that is, the individual does not make efforts to memorize.

That is why a person cannot remember absolutely all the little things that come his way. The subject remembers and forgets certain information selectively.

Arbitrary and involuntary memory are identified by the nature of the participation of the will of the individual in the process of memorization. They differ. Involuntary memory is a process that occurs “by itself”, namely, the individual does not set a goal to remember information and does not take an active part in this stage. Sometimes, in order to turn on involuntary memory, you need to turn on emotions. If we are talking about arbitrary memory, then here the basis for separation is a conscious process that involves the application of efforts to memorization. In psychology, it is generally accepted that a person’s memory moves forward due to the improvement of the means of memorization. A trained intellect is the mastery of methods of memorization.

As a result of numerous studies, it was found a whole structured series of memory development. For example, such areas as the age of the individual, her dependence on activities, her degree of mastery of memorization methods, the quality of the material to be memorized, motivation, etc. were identified. And if memory is developed, then involuntary memorization cannot be considered weaker, in contrast to voluntary. The first in most cases even surpasses the second.

Through research, it was also found that the material to which the individual applied maximum attention and consciousness is remembered better.

How it works?

Involuntary memory is the result of any action and a simultaneous condition for taking practical actions. We do not even suspect what process is going on in our minds when we say about any event like this: “I remember it by itself”. Nevertheless, this process has a strict pattern.

Research has shown that the productivity of involuntary memorization depends on the content of the main goal of the activity. Material for assimilation can occupy different places in the activity, so it also has a different meaning. As a result, it is endowed with a different orientation. It requires activity when it is necessary to achieve a result. This means that if there is active mental work, then the material is remembered well.

However, material can also be deleted from memory. This process is provoked by the impossibility of updating information. It is also associated with motivation, which contributes to its removal. Usually unacceptable information is removed from memory. For example, if you were hurt, then your psyche will turn on the protection so as not to be injured even more from the damage caused. In this way, negative memories will be repressed.

But this does not mean that it will be completely lost. Just with such a loss, unconscious processes operate. In order for knowledge to reappear in memory, the individual needs to understand incomprehensible motives. It is they who stimulate the removal of unpleasant moments.

Freud argued that travelers who have been on the same cruise will talk about the journey in completely different ways. And all this will happen because each person has his own feelings and perceptions, and the motives for memorization are also individual.

And all this is due to the fact that the content of our memory strongly interacts with perception. For example, the events that have occurred can be impartial, terrible moments can be combined with them. And, nevertheless, it is not the negative side that can be forgotten, but the one that is associated with the negative.

The famous psychologist Z. Freud found a concrete example of this. He tells in his writings about how he promised to buy a box as a gift to his close friend. The store that sold the little thing was next to the house where his enemy lived. So, Freud forgot the place where the store is located. And this is the most colorful example of how associative communication affects the forgetting of troubles.

A person who intends to perform an action and realizes that he is obliged to realize the intended action will strive for this, despite the passage of some time. However, the same individual may change his mind about doing something. This will happen as a result of awareness of future actions, and then the question arises: “Is it necessary to do this?”. After that, the desire will begin to disappear from memory. And this will happen when feelings collide — duty and internal denial of the forthcoming activity.


If we talk about memory in general, then we can say that this is a cognitive process that includes remembering, forgetting, and even dreaming. Sometimes we observe the facts of involuntary memorization when the movement associated with something stops abruptly. For example, the lights suddenly turn off or all data on the computer is closed. However, we involuntarily remember information that was read or written just before turning off. When the gadget turns on again, we can determine exactly where the process was interrupted.

The needs of any individual subsequently cause certain actions. If the desires remain, then the activity will be brought to an end. When this happens, the individual no longer feels the desire for any action. The situation is unraveling. For example, a person wanted to drink a glass of water. This desire prompts him to go to the kitchen and fulfill his plan. Suddenly, a bell rings, and the person is briefly forced to interrupt their actions. After talking on the phone, he will go to the kitchen, pour water into a glass and drink.

In this process, involuntary memory will be directly involved. Despite the sudden call, the tendency to perform the action was maintained. This means that the action, until it is performed, will remain in the memory of the individual. So, we can say that the need for tension affects the memory of a person. The content of involuntary memory and its functions are associated with activity and fully reflect it. Therefore, erroneous actions are excluded here. Thanks to the above functions of involuntary memorization, a person can not only start a business, but also finish it. So, involuntary memorization occurs without any effort, “on the machine”.

This species defines strong and unusual signals of the external and internal environment that cause certain feelings or interest in a person.

Ways of development

Involuntary memory must be developed by everyone without exception. This will greatly help in life, so follow these recommendations. They serve as an example of the development of memory, and also help to expand the intellect.

  • You need to do it by heart. This is the most important technique.
  • A derivative of learning by heart is retelling.
  • Transfer of experience or extrapolation. Here the conclusions are extended from one part to another, and patterns in the subject under study are also revealed. When a person learns to endure experience, he will learn to build analytical chains.
  • Associations evoke feelings, and the material is better remembered this way.

It is also necessary to apply the following factors, which will also improve memory.

  • Developing self-confidence. When you experience this feeling, you have a harmonious psychological state and physiological well-being. Brain cells begin to work with a vengeance.
  • Striving for positive emotions activates passive brain cells.
  • All-consuming Interest allows for quick memorization.
  • Interference elimination promotes concentration.
  • Learn to transform material. When the material for memorization looks monotonous, the brain begins to put obstacles to its perception. And if you make it not boring, but interesting, then things will go differently. To achieve your goal, write a short story. It is so easy to absorb any information.
  • Set a goal — be sure to learn the information. If you repeat the same thing over and over, you still won’t be able to remember anything if you haven’t set a goal.

In conclusion, it is necessary to give an example of the most appropriate method of involuntary memorization. Know that under the influence of strong emotions, a very strong process of involuntary memorization is activated.

Therefore, we use this factor and select such sources of knowledge that can shock us. This way, most of the information will be stored in your head. For example, if you want to assimilate historical data, then find the most interesting moments that will describe events that occurred in the past in all their “colors”.

You can also use to improve memory Schulte tables. A classic table looks like a square with 5 rows and 5 columns. The cells contain numbers in random order from 1 to 25. First you need to master the 5×5 matrices, and then move on to more complex tasks. There is a large 9×9 table for this.

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