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short-term memory

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Referenced in

The Design of Everyday Things

The traditional measures of short-term memory capacity range from five to seven, but from a practical point of view, it is best to think of it as holding only three to five items. Does that seem too small a number? Well, when you meet a new person, do you always remember his or her name? When you have to dial a phone number, do you have to look at it several times while entering the digits? Even minor distractions can wipe out the stuff we are trying to hold on to in STM. What are the design implications? Don’t count on much being retained in STM