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Four, Not Seven, Is The Magic Number

DECEMBER 03, 2012

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Four, Not Seven, Is The Magic Number

Four is the “magic number” of information items our mind can cope with, before confusion sets in, says a new analysis by a leading Australian psychiatrist. It challenges the psychological lore of seven being the magic number.






In 1956, the American psychologist George Miller had published a study arguing that the mind could cope with a maximum of only seven chunks of information in short-term memory. The paper, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two. Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information”, is judged as the most influential paper of all times.

 So to remember a seven numeral phone number, say 6458937, we need to break it into four chunks: 64, 58, 93, 7. Basically, four is the limit to our perception.




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