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Short Term Memory

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Experiment 4

Short Term Memory

I. Objective

To determine the capacity and limits of short term memory.

II. Definition

Short term memory (STM) is a limited-capacity store that can maintain unrehearsed information for about 10-20 seconds.In contrast, information stored in long term memory may last weeks,months or years.

However, there is a way that you can maintain information in your short-term store indefinitely.Primarily, by engaging in rehearsal-the process of repetitively verbalizing or thinking about information. Without rehearsal information in short-term memory is lost in 10-20 seconds.(Nairne,2003)


The objective of the experiment is to measure the capacity and limits of short-term memory.The experimenter conducted the experiment on 5 participants.Each subject was exposed to each of the stimulus consisting of rows of meaningless syllables.The experimenter let the subjects read the first row of letters in the following list just once then close their eyes and remember the correct sequence.Same procedure was done for the next rows.The experimenter records the outcome of the experiment.

IV. Introduction

Without rehearsal, information in short term memory is lost in 10-20 seconds (Nairne,2003) The rapid loss was demonstrated in a study by Peterson and Peterson (1959).They measured how long undergraduates could remember three consonants if they couldn't rehearse them.To prevent rehearsal,the Petersons required the students to count backward by threes from the time the consonants were presented until they saw a light that signaled the recall test.Their results showed that the subjects' recall accurancy was pretty dismal (about 10%) after only15 seconds.(Lewandowsky,Duncan & Brown,2004)

Short-term memory is also limited in the number of items it can hold.George Miller(1956) in his paper called "The magical Number Seven,Plus or Minus Two: Some limits on Our Capacity for Pocessing Information" pointed out the small capacity of STM.Miller noticed that people could recal only about seven items in task that required the use of STM.When STM is filled to capacity, the insertion of new information "bumps out" some of the information currently in STM. (Baddeley & Hitch,1974)

V. Methodology

A. Apparatus

Stopwatch and list of nonsense syllables.

B. Procedure

The experimenter used 5 subjects cosisting 1 male and the rest are female. Each participants were exposed to the stimulus consisting of rows of meaningless syllables.All of the participant read the first row of letters in the folowing list just once.Next, the participants were asked to close their eyes and recite the correct sequence. Same procedure is done for the next rows.


Nono, Xenna Mae

Bambalan, Arra

Belangel, Rodessa

Largo, Rayniel


VI. Results

The table shows the result of the experiment conducted.

VII. Discussion/Conclusion

VIII. References

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