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 Gentry's short-term memory is still coming back to him. Joseph Salvador, USA TODAY, "Kansas City high school football team followed by tragedy, triumph and filmmaker," 12 Nov. 2020 Watching a funny video was tied to improvements in short-term memory in older adults and increased their capacity to learn, research conducted by Dr. Gurinder Singh Bains of Loma Linda University found. Richard Schiffman, Star Tribune, "No joke – laughter is healthy," 9 Oct. 2020 So the waxing and waning of calcium concentrations in the leaf cells really do seem to serve as a kind of short-term memory for the Venus flytrap. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "The secret of how the Venus flytrap “remembers” when it captures prey," 20 Oct. 2020 The term can also include problems with attention, loss of short-term memory, disorientation, stupor or a coma-like level of consciousness. Washington Post, "Live updates: Senior military officials quarantining after Coast Guard admiral tests positive for covid-19," 6 Oct. 2020 The nature of that struggle means that Ms. Johnson is all the more concerned when her dad’s short-term memory loss progresses from an annoyance to an impairment. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Dick Johnson Is Dead’ Review: A Lively Way to Die," 1 Oct. 2020 A few years ago, Johnson learned that her widowed father, Richard, a psychiatrist in Seattle, was experiencing short-term memory loss and could no longer practice, drive safely, or live alone. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Dick Johnson Is Dead”: A Daughter’s Exuberant Collaboration with Her Dying Father," 1 Oct. 2020 As an example, an LSTM (long short-term memory) model — a type of neural network that can learn long-term time-series data — trained with the chart prediction model up to the week of Mar. 16, 2020 was used to predict a future model. Billboard Japan, Billboard, "Billboard Japan & NTT Data’s Joint Research Predicts Future Hits From Chart Data & Cerebral Information," 28 Sep. 2020 Typical symptoms include short-term memory loss, socially inappropriate behavior, confusion over time and place, and changes in mood or personality. James Whitlow,, "David Craig, former Harford County Executive, diagnosed with dementia; calls for greater awareness of condition," 21 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for short-term memory

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

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Last Updated

17 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Short-term memory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

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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

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