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A Basic Assumption Underlying Short-Term Memory Is That It is Limited – Discover the Truth

A Basic Assumption Underlying Short-Term Memory Is That It is Limited

When we talk about short-term memory, a fundamental premise is that it’s temporary in nature. It’s the mental workspace where we hold and manipulate information in our minds over brief intervals. Think of it as your brain’s sticky note – a place to jot down a phone number, remember an address, or hold onto a shopping list for just long enough to use it.

The capacity of our short-term memory is quite limited. Most people can hold about 7 items (+/-2) within their short-term memory under optimal conditions. However, this capacity can be influenced by various factors such as attention level and cognitive load.

It’s also worth noting that although the term “short-term” might suggest otherwise, not all information held here is destined for oblivion after a few seconds or minutes. Some pieces of information are transferred to long-term memory for permanent storage through processes like rehearsal and meaningful association.

What is Short-Term Memory?

In the fascinating world of cognitive psychology, I’ve often found myself intrigued by the concept of short-term memory. It’s a temporary storage system in our brain that holds information we’re currently aware of or thinking about. The capacity for this type of memory varies from person to person but on average, it can hold around seven items for no more than 20-30 seconds.

Digging deeper into its functionality, short-term memory acts as a kind of “scratch-pad” for temporary recall of the information under process. For instance, let’s say you are trying to remember a new phone number that was just given to you. You’ll likely repeat it a few times to yourself – that’s your short-term memory at work!

Interestingly enough, not all information makes it into our long-term memories. A basic assumption underlying short-term memory is that it serves as a filter, deciding which info should move on to long-term storage and what can be forgotten.

This ephemeral nature contributes to its main limitation: forgetfulness! If not rehearsed or processed further (like associating the new info with something already known), the details stored in our short-term memory fade away quite swiftly—almost like footsteps washed off by waves on a beach.

While many factors affect how well we retain data in our short term memory (like attention level and emotional state), practice and repetition have been proven effective in enhancing this capacity.

So next time when you find yourself struggling to remember where you left your keys or what you had for lunch yesterday – don’t be too hard on yourself! It’s probably just your short-term memory doing its job sorting out unnecessary details.

The Assumption of Short-Term Memory

Let’s talk about the basic assumptions that underpin our understanding of short-term memory. It’s generally believed that this type of memory acts as a kind of “scratch pad” for temporary recall of the information which is being processed at any point in time.

To fully grasp this, picture your mind as a computer with limited RAM. Just like how your device only keeps applications running that you’re currently using or have used recently, your short-term memory works on a similar principle. It holds onto the necessary information and discards what it deems unnecessary once it’s served its purpose.

This is not to say that our brains are completely binary; they’re much more complex than a mere machine! Yet, there’s an intriguing similarity in how both systems handle data – keeping what’s needed on hand while discarding excess load.

Further studies suggest the span of immediate memory seems to be almost binary in nature. For instance, George Miller, an eminent psychologist, proposed the theory known as ‘The Magical Number Seven,’ where he suggested humans can hold approximately seven items (plus or minus two) within their short-term memory.

  • Miller’s theory: Humans can hold around 7 items (+/-2) within their short-term memory.

There’s more to this assumption though: it also implies that short-term memories have a limited duration – typically around 20 to 30 seconds unless we consciously try to retain them (a process called rehearsal). This means if you don’t rehearse phone numbers over and over again, chances are high you’ll forget them!

  • Memory Duration: Short term memories usually last between 20-30 seconds without rehearsal.

So there you have it: these assumptions form the backbone for our current understanding of short-term memory – acting as a temporary storehouse with a finite capacity and duration.

In essence:

  • Short-term memory acts like a temporary post-it note for the mind.
  • It helps us negotiate everyday tasks without cognitive overload.
  • Our understanding of it remains fluid due to ongoing research.

So there you have it – my take on one basic assumption underlying short-term memory: its temporal and limited nature!

Brantley Jackson, dad and writer at 'Not in the Kitchen Anymore' is well-known in the parenting world. He writes about his experiences of raising children and provides advice to other fathers. His articles are widely praised for being real and relatable. As well as being an author, he is a full-time dad and loves spending time with his family. His devotion to his kids and love of writing drives him to motivate others.