Sample Psychology Article Review on The Magical Number Seven, Plus or minus two: Some Limits on our capacity for Processing Information

The Magical Number Seven, Plus or minus two: Some Limits on our capacity for Processing Information

LAB 1  — “Memory Span”

2.          Goal of article: State the research questions and/or hypotheses being investigated (What are they trying to do?) (Four sentences to one paragraph)

             The goal of the article is to investigate and determine short-term memory consequences in regards to rehearsal of grouped data/ digits. Thus, the research question states that: what is the effect of grouping in recalling of item and recall of position in a comparable manner? It insinuates that an individual is more likely to forget some digit during presentation when items are placed in a sequence. Thus, ordered recall is vulnerable to memory lapses for an individual.

3.          List three (3) cognitive psychology terms important for the topic of the article, find their definitions or descriptions in any CogPsy textbook (give reference) and provide them here:

  1. Recall- It indicates the process of repeating of saying certain words or information that appears in a group. This insinuates that the person involved repeats a certain pattern of word (Miller, 1956).
  2. Curvilinear- defines that relationship between position recall and the size of the rehearsal group (Miller, 1956).
  3. Ordering- It means that arrangement or grouping of numbers or digits in a sequence (Miller, 1956).  

4.         Describe ALL the dependent variables for the designated experiment:

            The dependent variables include:

  • short-term memory (seconds)            

5.         Describe ALL the independent variables for the designated experiment:

  1. Name each variable
  2. groups rehearsing (seconds)
  3. List its levels
  4. ordered recall (digits)
  5. position recall (digits)
  6. item recall(digits)
  7. State the statistical test(s) that was/were used to analyze the data

The statistical test used were ordered recall in Groups Rl-2, R2-3, R3-4, R3-5, and R4-5

  • If there are more than one independent variable, state the factorial design

The factorial design is through Comparable error ratios in Rl indicated by asterisks.

      p <.0.5

      P < 0.01

      P < 0.001

6.          Describe how the experiment was conducted, i.e., what was the procedure: (4-6 sentences)

             The experiment was carried out by inviting one hindered and thirty two undergraduates to participate in rehearsal exercise for grouped digits. The researcher asked the students to rehearse preceding items. R1(s) is the first item followed by R2(s).  (R3) S were rehearsed in an overlapping groups arranged for three items. The trend would follow each other till the last group R3-3V. The undergraduates were assigned to groups that were six in total which would otherwise e assigned diverse conditions.

7.         Identify all the main effects and interactions (if the design is factorial). Make sure you state the main effect for EACH independent variable you named in (5):

            The following are the main effects of rehearsing a group of items:

  • The larger the rehearsal groups the better. This is because of the fact that the ratio increased as the group rehearsal increased. This is the reason behind the increase in superiority as the grouping increase from 1 to 2 to 3.
  • Elevated frequencies found or established between position errors R3 and R2 and so on stipulates the creating of two sets if ordering cues that appears in serial. These set if errors are created because one responds to position while the other the group itself.

8.          Steps or conclusions suggested by the article (One paragraph):

             The article suggests the following:

             Larger group of items can e rehearsed in a fast manner than small groups. This is because the direct associations formed in the short-term memory are retrieved in a fast manner. In addition, they are formed between nonadjacent items that represented a small difference between remote and strong association. This means that for every group of items, the more the number or rehearse made the lesser the difference hence the stronger the association.

9.          When the stimulus sequence consists of long words, one’s memory span is shorter than when the stimulus sequence consists of short words. Why might this be the case?(One-two paragraphs).

             The reason as to why the memory span is shorter when the sequence consists of long words is that the chunk of information contained in long words makes it is easier for an individual to rehearse within short period. In addition, the memory span is shorter as it has few words to concentrate on. On the other hand, when stimulus is made up of short words, the memory span is longer due to the amount of data/ information conveyed or required to be rehearsed. The above forms the difference between the two scenarios.

10.       Discuss how memory span might be related to reading. (One-two paragraphs).

The memory span is related to reading in the following manner: When a person is engaged in reading he or she utilizes his or her memory in storing some of the information or data acquired. This means that when a person spends a lot of time reading, his or her memory span will experience long span due to the fact that the mind has little time to relax. On the other hand, short span for the memory are encouraged because individuals are able to memorize and store information in the permanent section in the brain.


Miller, G. A. (1956). The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Indiana: Bobbs-Merrill.