short-term memory

noun
Updated on: 10 Nov 2017

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

Recent Examples of short-term memory from the Web

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.

First Known Use of short-term memory

1951


Medical Dictionary

short-term memory

noun

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 GolemanThe New York Times11 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. FosterNew Scientist3 Dec. 2011
abbreviation STM — compare long-term memory

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