The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity

  title={The magical number 4 in short-term memory: A reconsideration of mental storage capacity},
  author={Nelson Cowan},
  journal={Behavioral and Brain Sciences},
  pages={87 - 114}
  • N. Cowan
  • Published 1 February 2001
  • Psychology
  • Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Miller (1956) summarized evidence that people can remember about seven chunks in short-term memory (STM) tasks. However, that number was meant more as a rough estimate and a rhetorical device than as a real capacity limit. Others have since suggested that there is a more precise capacity limit, but that it is only three to five chunks. The present target article brings together a wide variety of data on capacity limits suggesting that the smaller capacity limit is real. Capacity limits will be… 

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Chunk limits and length limits in immediate recall: a reconciliation.

  • Zhijian ChenN. Cowan
  • Psychology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
  • 2005
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