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Short Term Memory Theory Essay

825 words - 3 pages

Miller's Theory of Short-Term Memory and 7 plus/minus 2Theory: Miller's Theory of Short-Term Memory and 7 plus/minus 2Miller's theory is founded on the basis that the human mental capacity has a finite span of immediate or short term memory which has shown to be approximately seven chunks of data plus or minus two (Miller,1994). His original work was printed in the Psychology Review in 1956 and is still being analyzed and cited today by those examining the human capacity for short term memory.Theorist: George A. MillerBiography:George Armitage Miller (1920 - ) is an American cognitive psychologist who has taught at several prestigious universities to include Harvard, Rockefeller and Princeton. He originally received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama with a major in speech therapy and continued on to earn a Master's degree in speech. While working with individuals with speaking difficulties, he recognized speech problems should be addressed by the clinical psychology field. In 1942, Miller went to Harvard to study clinical psychology and was noted as a particularly astute experimentalist and scientific theorist. His experimental work in memory, language, and psychophysics led him to write his best-known study "The Magical Number Seven Plus or Minus Two" (1956), where he theorized the limit of human short term memory (Blumenthal, 2000).Miller received the Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in Psychological Science from the American Psychological Foundation in recognition of his distinguished accomplishments in the study of cognition, language, and communication. He is the author of more than 160 publications to include his first book, Language and Communication, in 1951 and his later book, Language and Perception (1976) with Philip Johnson-Laird. Both books proved to be important works in the field of cognitive science (American Psychologist, 1991).Description of Theory:According to Miller (1994), there is a limit on our ability to process information which depends on our span of absolute judgment and our span of immediate memory. He describes absolute judgment as being limited by the amount of information we retain which is built upon by the ability of our immediate memory to process information which , in turn, is limited to a set number of items in the order of seven plus or minus two. Miller developed the concepts of both recoding and chunking which helped to explain his theory on our capacity to process information. He asserted that since the capacity of short term memory is a fixed number of chunks, we can increase the amount of information we can process by building larger and larger chunks (Miller 1994). Recoding as...

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