Off-topic: Magic Number 7 (WAS: Re: XML Editors - Word 2000?? )

Andy.Bradbury at Andy.Bradbury at
Mon Jul 5 11:22:08 BST 1999

Didier wrote:
>The magic seven comes from a well know article form George Miller in 1956
>called "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on our
>Capacity for Processing Information". In this now famous article, Miller
>stated that the short term memory can handle 7 elements plus or minus 2.
>This means that gifted people can remember with their short term memory 9
>elements and the less gifted 5. The average person can remember 7

Just for the sake of accuracy, this has nothing whatever to do with being

Miller's article simply records certain experiments (carried out by other
researchers) and notes the overall implications.

In practise, unless you are skilled in memorisation techniques, the amount
of information you can carry in working memory will vary according to
context, emotional state, interest in the material being memorised and so


Andy B.


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