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Involuntary Retrieval in Episodic Memory

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DOI: 10.23977/ICEIPI2020025


Zixiao Bian

Corresponding Author

Zixiao Bian


The involuntary retrieval of episodic memory has drawn wide attention and have been researching for decades in the fields of psychology. However, the mechanism of the involuntary retrieval of episodic memory is unclear. This paper mainly focused on the mechanism of involuntary retrieval of episodic memory. After investigating and summarizing the results of past studies done by researchers, we reviewed two theories: triggered mode theory and cognitive control theory. The triggered mode theory is a sophisticated taxonomy that categorized three different subtypes of involuntary memory: chained, direct, and traumatic. The cognitive control theory illustrated the significance of cognitive control and preoccupation of cognitive resource on reducing the occurrence of involuntary retrieval of episodic memory, and the research findings of neuroscience verified the conclusion at present. The triggered mode theory illustrated the involuntary retrieval relies on different levels of classification and the contexts of memory, and the cognitive control theory demonstrated the mechanism of involuntary retrieval under all the contexts and generate notable regulation effects. Thus, the conclusion is valuable when the clinical professionals attempt to develop treatment plans towards patients who are suffering major depressive disorder, obsessiveā€“compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.


Involuntary retrieval, episodic memory, triggered mode, cognitive control

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