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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

4 is magic number for human brain

ANI  Washington, November 30, 2012
First Published: 01:32 IST(30/11/2012) | Last Updated: 01:34 IST(30/11/2012)

In a new analysis, a psychiatrist has challenged the long-held view that the mind can cope with seven pieces of information before confusion sets in by suggesting that the magic number might actually by four.

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In 1956, American psychologist George Miller had published a paper in the influential journal Psychological Review arguing that the mind could cope with a maximum of only seven chunks of information.

But UNSW professor of psychiatry Gordon Parker says a re-analysis of the experiments used by Miller shows he missed the correct number by a wide mark. Parker says a closer look at the evidence shows the human mind copes with a maximum of four ‘chunks’ of information, not seven.

“So to remember a seven numeral phone number, say 6458937, we need to break it into four chunks: 64. 58. 93. 7.   Basically four is the limit to our perception,” Parker said.


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