I 've been fascinated by the following technique which I read some time ago. It goes as follows:

  • If you forget something and you can't remember it e.g. somebody's name, try with full intention and conscious effort to recollect it for 10 minutes (but without success usually). Then "command your subconscious" to continue searching for the thing that your try to remember. At the same time, you must forget entirely about the subject and get busy on doing something else.

  • After some time (a few hours or the next morning), once you think about the same subject the missing thing will suddenly "pop" into your memory, as if it was waiting for your conscious attention.

Actually, I 've had the chance to use the method on four occasions, to remember the name of three persons and one mathematical theorem that I couldn't remember. I resisted the urge to look up the information. At times it felt that it was very unlikely it would work (because it was about information I had forgotten a very long time ago), but it actually did work. Every successful act of the method increased my confidence that we can remember a lot more than will usually think, but it requires patience.

I am convinced that the sudden "pop" of the fact is not random, but actually the result of some subconscious search process.

So, here goes my two questions:

  • Has this subconscious mental phenomenon and it's inner workings been studied in the literature (psychology or neuroscience), and is there a name for it?
  • Do you know of any similar practical techniques that utilize subconscious processing but are not about recollection?

P.S. Excuse me if have mixed up word choice for subconscious or unconscious

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. Can you please provide a source for this technique of remembering forgotten information? $\endgroup$ Jun 6, 2021 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ For different levels of consciousness, you could look at my question at psychology.stackexchange.com/q/24122/7604 $\endgroup$ Jun 6, 2021 at 8:23
  • $\begingroup$ the question psychology.stackexchange.com/questions/1/… is broader and answers my question. The phenomenon is called "incubation". @ChrisRogers Thank you. I think the book must have been Memory Culture, or a similar book on developing Memory. $\endgroup$
    – Enk9456
    Jun 6, 2021 at 9:49


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