High-Speed Scanning in Human Memory

  title={High-Speed Scanning in Human Memory},
  author={Saul Sternberg},
  pages={652 - 654}
When subjects judge whether a test symbol is contained in a short memorized sequence of symbols, their mean reaction-time increases linearly with the length of the sequence. The linearity and slope of the function imply the existence of an internal serial-comparison process whose average rate is between 25 and 30 symbols per second. 

Serial position effects in high-speed memory search

Together, these results are incompatible with serial-exhaustive models; some modifications are necessary in order to accommodate the obtained results.

Retrieval of contextual information from memory

When Ss name the item that follows a test item in a short recently memorized list, their mean reaction-time increases linearly with list length, and the linearity and slope of the function imply that the test item is located in the Memorized list by an internal self-terminating scanning process.

Monkey and human pictorial memory scanning.

A rhesus monkey accurately recognized pictures in a Sternberg memory scanning experiment, demonstrating the monkeys are capable of some of the short-term retrieval mechanisms of humans.

Reaction Time and Short-term Memory: Implications of Repetition Effects for the High-speed Exhaustive Scan Hypothesis *

Recognition memory for sub-span digit sequences was investigated using Stern-berg's varied-set RT technique and observed faster recognition of repeated items, which is predicted by Sternberg's highspeed exhaustive scanning hypothesis.

Primate memory: retention of serial list items by a rhesus monkey.

A rhesus monkey correctly recognized 86 and 81 percent of 10- and 20-item lists, respectively. It serial position curve was similar in form to a human's curve, revealing prominent primacy and recency

Interpretation of Response Time in Research on the Development of Memory and Cognition

Human memory has traditionally been studied by examining how and when it fails—by considering the frequency and pattern of errors in recall or recognition. These errors may result from failures of

Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off in Recognition Memory

In a recognition memory experiment, the time allowed for retrieval was controlled by using the offset of the probe as a signal to terminate retrieval and respond, indicating that this procedure effectively eliminated fast-guess strategies.

Processing time as influenced by the number of elements in a visual display

In a visual-detection experiment. a display of several letters was presented. and S was to report the presence or absence of a given target letter. Results clearly are incompatible with a

A simplified procedure for the study of memory retrieval processes

A simplified and inexpensive procedure for the conduct of research on recognition memory retrieval is presented, a card sorting analog to Sternberg’ s item recognition task, and suggestions for how card sorting may be used to study psycholinguistic processing and semantic memory.




  • M. Posner
  • Computer Science, Psychology
    Psychological review
  • 1964
A taxonomy of information-processing tasks is proposed which, it is suggested, represents a kind of thinking in which the solution is in some way implicit in the problem, but inWhich the input information must be reflected in a reduced or condensed output.

Human Response to Classes of Stimuli

When a set of stimuli are grouped together by common usage the response time is, at an earlier stage of practice, independent of the response/stimulus ratio, suggesting that learning is an important factor in this situation.

Models for choice-reaction time

In the two-choice situation, the Wald sequential probability ratio decision procedure is applied to relate the mean and variance of the decision times, for each alternative separately, to the error

Decision structure and time relations in simple choice behavior

The structure of simple decisions is considered in terms of a model which composes such decisions from hypothetical elementary decisions. It is argued that reaction-time data can be treated by the

Stimulus generalization in the learning of classifications.

Rate of Implicit Speech

  • T. Landauer
  • Computer Science, Medicine
    Perceptual and motor skills
  • 1962