short-term memory


Definition of short-term memory 

: memory that involves recall of information for a relatively short time (such as a few seconds) But short-term memory is the primary bottleneck in human information processing. Only a few items—the usual estimate is seven, plus or minus two—can be held in mind at once, and the items are immediately subject to fading or being overwritten.— Steven Pinker abbreviation STM — compare long-term memory, working memory

Examples of short-term memory in a Sentence

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The looks came and came and came, testing even the most un-addled short-term memory. Luke Leitch, Vogue, "Dolce & Gabbana’s Como Chameleons: Naomi Campbell, Halima Aden, and Maye Musk Model Alta Moda in Italy," 6 July 2018 James suffered from short-term memory and vision loss and OCD. CBS News, "Children who play football before age 12 show CTE-related symptoms much sooner," 1 May 2018 My average teenage weekend was more thoroughly documented than all 94 years of my grandfather’s life, and yet none of those iPhone photos or status updates seemed to have made it past my short-term memory. Daniel Kolitz, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Timehop," 26 June 2018 Heading down to the other end of the ice and tapping into our short-term memory we are reminded that Braden Holtby was not Washington’s starting goalkeeper at the start of this postseasons. Kristen Nelson,, "Stanley Cup Final Series Breakdown: Washington Capitals vs. Vegas Golden Knights," 27 May 2018 Now, more than 30 years later, Jim is left with severe brain damage, resulting in short-term memory loss and seizures. Char Adams,, "Texas Dad with Disabilities Saves Pocket Change So His Daughter Can Buy Coffee," 7 June 2018 Here's how your brain stores short-term memories for the long term and what happens when that process malfunctions. Josh Magness, miamiherald, "Put down the camera if you really want to remember what's in front of you, study says," 1 June 2018 One short walk through nature can improve your short-term memory, relieve stress and even boost your immune system. Cailey Rizzo, Smithsonian, "This Friday, You Can Visit More Than 150 of the Best Gardens in the U.S. for Free," 10 May 2018 The accident also stripped her of her ability to form short-term memories. Sadé Carpenter, RedEye Chicago, "Chicago artist Caroline Liu reclaims identity, heals from trauma through her art," 15 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'short-term memory.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of short-term memory

1951, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of short-term memory was in 1951

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short-term memory


Medical Definition of short-term memory 

: memory that involves recall of information for a relatively short time (as a few seconds) The standard view, repeated in almost every psychology textbook, is that the ordinary limit on short-term memory is for seven or so bits of information—the length of a phone number.— Daniel Goleman, The New York Times, 11 Oct. 1994 Short-term memory is closely linked to working memory, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. There is a difference, however: short-term memory refers to the passive storage and recall of information from the immediate past, whereas working memory refers to the active processes involved in manipulating this information.— Jonathan K. Foster, New Scientist, 3 Dec. 2011 abbreviation STM — compare long-term memory

Comments on short-term memory

What made you want to look up short-term memory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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