short-term memory

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A memory system capable of holding a limited amount of information for brief periods, up to a maximum of about 20 or 30 seconds, although it can be renewed indefinitely if the information within it is rehearsed (2). Its capacity is about seven items or chunks of information according to evidence first reviewed in an influential article by the US psychologist George A(rmitage) Miller (born 1920) in the journal Psychological Review in 1956. Without short-term memory, language would be incomprehensible, because to understand a sentence a listener or reader has to remember its beginning at least until its end. Also called immediate memory. See also chunking, Corsi blocks, dynamic memory span, levels of processing, magical number seven, maintenance rehearsal, phonological loop, push-down stack, reverberating circuit, span of apprehension, working memory. Compare long-term memory, sensory memory. STM abbrev.

Subjects: Psychology.

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