Memory Retention

Topics: Working memory, Short-term memory, The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two Pages: 2 (552 words) Published: July 22, 2012

The experiment’s results have shown that the participants had no major difficulty in retaining 6 and 9 digit information……….. Measures of working memory capacity reflect both memory processes and executive attention, whereas traditional measures of short-term memory reflect primarily memory processes such as grouping, chunking, and rehearsal. In the digit-span task, the participants were shown a list of digits, and afterwards were asked to recall them in order by writing down their answers on a sheet of paper. If the participant recognizes familiar patterns in the list, such as his telephone number or address, and the ability to do verbal rehearsal have a large effect on success in the task (Engle, 2002). Furthermore, Engle (2002) argues that working memory capacity is not directly about memory, but rather, it is about using attention to maintain or suppress information. According to him, greater working memory capacity does mean that more items can be maintained as active, but this is a result of greater ability to control attention, not a larger memory store. Thus, greater working memory capacity also means greater ability to use attention to avoid distraction. Zhang and Simon’s (as cited in Chen & Cowan, 2009) study proposes that chunk limits and length limits always operate together in recall, and that both are factors in influencing performance. However, other studies concerning free and serial recall of lists suggest that chunk and length constraints may operate under different circumstances (Chen & Cowan, 2009). According to Miller (as cited in Cowan, Chen, & Rouder, 2007), short-term memory has a capacity of about seven items in immediate-recall tasks, and that related material can be chunked together to form a new, conjoint item. However, researchers have suggested a constant-capacity hypothesis which states that the number of chunks that can be held in immediate memory is constant no matter what the content...
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