Ask Mar­i­lyn

Albuquerque Journal - Parade - - Table - By Mar­i­lyn vos Sa­vant —Emily Har­ri­son, Nashville, Tenn.

Why does rep­e­ti­tion help us re­mem­ber a phone num­ber long enough to make a call? Mem­ory is a com­pli­cated sub­ject. But in gen­eral, short-term mem­ory can hold about seven to 10 items and lasts be­tween 15 to 30 sec­onds. (Both limits vary from per­son to per­son.) So if we are able to re­peat a se­quence within that pe­riod, we can ef­fec­tively re­set the time clock. And we can do that again and again. But if some­thing in­ter­rupts us for more than a few sec­onds, and our time clock runs out—poof! The mem­ory is gone. We need to look at the phone num­ber and start all over again.

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