17. Working memoryShort-term memory is a memory system that holds a limited amount of information for brief periods of time, usually thirty seconds or less. This is the memory system you use when you look up a phone number and dial it.
Many experts on memory view it as a kind of workbench for consciousness. That’s why another term for short-term memory is working memory.
How short-term memory works.
A growing body of evidence indicates that short-term memory consists of two basic components: a phonological store of representations of words, reflecting how they sound, and a rehearsal mechanism that refreshes the contents of the phonological store through repetition of these words (Baddeley, 1992).
How much can short-term memory hold?
The answer turns out to be something like seven to nine separate pieces of information. By the process of chunking, short-term memory can hold larger amount of information, even though it can retain only seven to nine separate items at once.
How long does information in short-term memory last?
Not very long. Unless it is actively rehearsed, information entered into short-term memory fades quickly. If individuals are prevented from rehearsing—the information may be almost totally gone within twenty seconds.
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