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Automaticity – What It Takes and Why It Matters


Automaticity is a concept we talk about in cognitive training – getting skills practiced to the point where they don’t require conscious thought. The concept also applies in other training situations, for processes (procedural memory). The idea is that, when you practice a skill over and over, you get to the point where you don’t have to think about it consciously. That is why you can drive to work and realize that you don’t remember the drive. You have practiced driving (and the route to the office) to the point of automaticity. Similarly, when we can decode and recognize words with automaticity, it frees up room for comprehension and thinking about what we’re reading. When we know our math facts, we can think about the problem we need to solve, not what 7 X 6 is. When our ability to rotate objects in space is automatic (part of visual-spatial processing), we can instantly understand what a solar or lunar eclipse is. Below is a link to a Fast Company article that provides a great explanation and some wonderful examples.

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