I was watching "Molly's Game" where a conversation between Molly and her psychologist dad appears in the later life of Molly (Molly didn't have very good relationship with her dad and wanted to piss him off often when she was young).

The transcript:

Dad: I knew that you know that I cheated with mom

Molly: I didn't know that till I was 20 years old

Dad: You knew it when you saw me with someone in my car, you were 5 years old, you didn't know what you saw but you have known since then

What is this psychological effect where one doesn't yet know that he/she knows something and perhaps acts out something to its effect?


1 Answer 1


I've seen that movie, it's awesome!

I'd call that "subconscious knowledge" - because you know about something and it influences your behaviour, but your brain and reasoning aren't yet developed enough to understand what you know (and to link it to the behaviour).

  • $\begingroup$ What exactly is difference between knowing and understanding? If i know something, doesnt that mean I understand that thing? $\endgroup$
    – user0193
    Feb 20, 2021 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ Exactly as the OP described the convo. For example (I apologise for giving a dreadful example), I have seen a video on YT, an interview with a toddler girl who is a psychopath - she would hurt her baby brother intentionally and whatsnot, but later on we find out that she herself was (as it happens in most cases) abused by he father, if I remember correctly. So she has first-hand knowledge about the abuse, but she does not yet understand what abuse is. She does act on the knowledge (abusing the baby). I would count into this (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) instinctive reactions, too. $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2021 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ +1 This makes so much sense! thanks for sharing. Do you have link to the youtube video about the toddler? $\endgroup$
    – user0193
    Feb 21, 2021 at 15:14
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    $\begingroup$ well i think subconsicous knowledge makes more sense. I believe that we are born with notion of (mate/partners) just like the same notion is there in some animals. So perhaps without understanding she could have "felt" something wrong when she saw her dad with other women doing stuff. And perhaps "feeling something worng" might be the reason she acted badly with her dad implicitely (without explicitely knowing the cause) so your answer seems to be inline with my reasoning so I have accepted it (unless someone else proves me wrong) $\endgroup$
    – gfdsal
    Feb 21, 2021 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! I'm happy if it helps, and ofc if someone else knows better, I look forward to hearing them! $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2021 at 22:10

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