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Automaticity is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low level details required. It is usually the result of learning, repetition, and practice.

Examples of automaticity are common activities such as walking, speaking and driving a car. After an activity is sufficiently practiced it is possible to focus the mind on other activities or thoughts while undertaking an automaticised activity (for example holding a conversation or planning a speech while driving a car).

LaBerge and Samuels (1974) helped explain how reading fluency develops [1]. Automaticity refers to knowing how to do something so well that you don't have to think about.

Companies, such as AutoSkill [2], incorporates the concept of automaticity into computer software. By measuring the consistency of processing speed and accuracy of students' responses, foundation reading skills can become automatic. As a result, students can devote cognitive effort to higher order comprehension skills.

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Key textsEdit



  • Cheng, P. W. (1985) Restructuring versus automaticity: alternative accounts of skill acquisition, Psychological Review 92: 414-23.
  • Logan, G. D. (1991). Automaticity and memory. In W. Hockley & S. Lewandowsky (Eds.), Relating theory and data: Essays on human memory in honor of Bennet B. Murdock. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Logan, G. D., & Compton, B. J. (1998). Attention and automaticity. In R. Wright (Ed.), Visual attention. (pp. 108-131). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Logan, GD, Taylor, SE, Etherton, JL. "Attention and automaticity: Toward a theoretical integration." Psychol. Res.-Psychol. Forsch. 62: 165, 1999.
  • Logan, G. D. (2004). Attention, automaticity, and executive control. In A. F. Healy (Ed.), Experimental cognitive psychology and its applications: Festschrift in honor of Lyle Bourne, Walter Kintsch, and Thomas Landauer. (pp. 129-139). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association Press

Additional materialEdit



  • Logan, G. D. (1997). The automaticity of academic life: Unconscious applications of an implicit theory. In R. S. Wyer (Ed.), Advances in Social Cognition (vol. 10). (pp. 157-179). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.


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