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

Recent Examples on the Web

However, not all long-term memories necessarily have to start as short-term memories. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Human memory: How we make, remember, and forget memories," 4 Mar. 2019 The former community health administrator from Fairmount has no short-term memory. Kristin E. Holmes,, "Religious communities consider how much faith to put in marijuana," 26 Aug. 2019 Symptoms include short-term memory loss, communication impairment, inability to focus, lack of reasoning and judgment, and sometimes problems with visual perception, Mathew said. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New Alzheimer’s care center planned in San Marcos," 15 Aug. 2019 Short rallies ending in errors are relegated to our short-term memory, quickly dismissed as being irrelevant and extraneous to the final outcome. Craig O’shannessy, New York Times, "Love Long Rallies? That’s Not What the French Open Is About," 9 June 2019 Caswell, now in his late 80s, struggled with a series of health problems, including battles with colon cancer, diabetes and short-term memory loss, according to police and Pederson., "A Mouseketeer mystery: Dennis Day’s extraordinary life and heartbreaking death," 6 July 2019 When Almanza did not return home, his nephew called police about 8 p.m. Almanza has high blood pressure and diabetes, and his brain injury affects his short-term memory, police said. Sara Coello, Dallas News, "Haltom City police searching for man with brain injury and diabetes who's been missing for a day," 20 June 2019 Solving a simple algebra problem involves the visual cortex — to process the symbols — and the parts of the brain used for computation and short-term memory. Quanta Magazine, "In Brain’s ‘Rich Club,’ Meetings of the Mind," 24 Oct. 2013 For a short-term memory to become a long-term memory, it must be strengthened for long-term storage, a process called memory consolidation. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "Human memory: How we make, remember, and forget memories," 4 Mar. 2019

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

1948, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for short-term memory

The first known use of short-term memory was in 1948

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More Definitions for short-term memory

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

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a topic to which one constantly reverts

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