magical number seven

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A general limitation on human information processing capacity, according to a classic article in the journal Psychological Review in 1956 entitled ‘The Magical Number Seven Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information’ by the US psychologist George A(rmitage) Miller (born 1920), who assembled evidence suggesting that the human mind has a span of absolute judgement that can distinguish about seven distinct categories, a span of short-term memory for about seven items, and a span of apprehension or attention that can encompass about six items at a time. See also chunking, dynamic memory span, iconic store, subitize.

Subjects: Psychology.

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