Improving Your Short-Term Memory

Aspect of Memory

The aspect of memory that I picked for the current research paper is short-term memory. The reason for this is the fact that this type of memory may be the most confusing and complex among its other types. Even though there are other aspects that could be reviewed, it was interesting for me to gain more insight into how an individual could improve their short-term memory with the help of specific exercises or methods within a specified amount of time. It is known that short-term memory lasts for not more than 30 seconds despite the general supposition that data from short-term memory could be stored for several hours (Spielman, 2017). Therefore, it could be essential to train this “buffer” in order to allow for larger quantities of data to be stored inside one’s brain similar to a computer. I believe this aspect of memory to be exceptionally important because the human ability to translate short-term information into its long-term variation is one of the crucial tasks that improve brain functioning. The long-standing stereotype of humans being able to remember approximately seven objects (actually, it is not more than four, according to Spielman (2017)) also has to be tested to see if short-term memory could be trained to such an extent.

Memory Principles and Techniques

The first principle that I chose when working on my short-term memory was rehearsal. The rationale for this technique was that constant repetitions would help me memorize certain things quicker and translate the short-term information into its long-term counterpart. I think that storing information with the help of rehearsal could also be one of the most viable methods when studying for an exam, as it provides an individual with the possibility to approach the required material with the help of repetitions and steadiness. The biggest advantage of the rehearsal technique is that it creates room for information review and also mildly forces the individual to create notes (either written or oral) that would help them train their memory and achieve better results when preparing for an exam or any other crucial event (Shimi & Logie, 2019). Based on my personal experience, I can tell that long-term retention is what follows the short-term memory and numerous iterations of rehearsal. The key objective should always be a better understanding of the material in question because mere memorizing activity would not create premises for long-term data retention. Wen and Dong (2019) still disprove the link between long- and short-term memory storages inside the human brain.

Another technique that I consider highly accurate and effective is chunking. Even though the majority of us utilize it on a daily basis, it does not get the recognition it deserves on a bigger scale (Norris, 2017). Similarly, to rehearsal, it is also a method that might help translate short-term information into long-term memory. The key idea I followed when applying the chunking methodology was to split all the information I had to memorize into smaller segments. From my experience, I may conclude that such separations create blocks inside one’s memory that are much more convenient to recall than an extensive string of numbers. The biggest advantage that I can point out when it comes to chunking is that the latter helps retain specific information without the person having to keep in mind every single number or letter the individual intended to memorize (Norris, 2017). Human short-term memory is rather limited, so chunking could be the answer to storing several larger blocks that could serve as a link in the chain when a person tries to remember a phone number or a famous quote. Chunking worked great for me because I mostly rely on connections between objects and possible patterns.

Positive and (Probable) Negative Results of Principles and Techniques

When discussing the effects of the principles and techniques described above, I may conclude that the worst thing about human memory is that there is no opportunity to control every item or piece of information we have in the active focus. This means that it may be exceptionally hard to increase the number of “chunks” that one could simultaneously hold in their brain even after months or years of training. Nevertheless, after experimenting with my short-term memory (which is also called working memory nowadays), I can tell that a person’s active focus can be developed to a certain extent where at least one new chunk could be added to the field of active focus. When practicing repetition and chunking, I gradually trained my brain to split the information automatically and record those into several different memory cells in order to be able to pull each of them when necessary. One of the positive things that I can point out about my training is that the improvements in terms of the active focus helped me to increase the speed of my brain and make decisions quicker (while I would also rely on my brain being able to pull information from the memory storage much more rapidly than before).

Even though there is no actual way to prove it, I believe that my skill to transfer information from short-term memory to its long-term counterpart improved greatly owing to the willingness to experiment with chunking and rehearsals. The active focus became a source of immediate knowledge for me, as I became able to pull information from the recall storage faster. Currently, I rarely consult external sources to remember anything I have learned in the past because I used rehearsals and chunking to make it easier for me to remember all the necessary information. Although I did not practice it in any way, I can easily remember the conversations and names of the people I have recently met. This kind of social advantage is what makes short-term memory and its further translation into long-term knowledge so important. The key benefit of improving one’s short-term memory is the ability to remember larger chunks of information and bring them upon request with no delay. This could become a critical asset during the times when one has to talk about their career or health.

Interestingly, I can also point out that my emotional capability increased with improvements in short-term memory. I believe that chunking and rehearsals allowed me to protect myself from the possible mistakes I have already witnessed in the past, as those would be stored as former short-term chunks inside the long-term memory. In order to extend the areas of knowledge and improve my memory even further, I would like to learn at least one new language and see how it would affect my short-term memory throughout the learning process. One of the few problems that I encountered when working on my short-term memory, though, was that I sometimes felt uncomfortable when spending more time than usual performing the tasks that required the use of long-term memory. Evidently, a larger focus on rehearsals and chunking affected me to an extent where I became much more interested in learning new stuff instead of keeping track of and systematizing the existing knowledge. While this is not a plain disadvantage, it made me think more about how we should keep all aspects of our memory intact if we expect to develop evenly and gain access to all the required information collected inside the memory storage.

Fundamentally, techniques aimed at the improvements in the area of short-term memory are required to protect the human brain from stagnation, but there should be limits to all kinds of activities that people might engage themselves in while learning (Shimi & Logie, 2019). This idea stems from the hypothesis made by Norris (2017), which revolves around the fact that short-term memory and its long-term counterpart have a rather thin line dividing them. In the future, I might be interested in developing the “memory palace” capability in order to expand my memorizing capacity and make room for more data chunks. The bad news is that short-term memory cannot be really advanced, as the person in question may only be able to translate it into a broader, more efficient long-term memory conduit. My experience shows that the efforts are rather resource-intensive and require the individual to convert all new information into a format that supports chunks and serves as a specific symbol for the learner. After I expand my short-term memory a bit more, I will get to work on its long-term counterpart to create a link between the two and strengthen my intellectual capability.


Norris, D. (2017). Short-term memory and long-term memory are still different. Psychological Bulletin, 143(9), 992.

Shimi, A., & Logie, R. H. (2019). Feature binding in short-term memory and long-term learning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72(6), 1387-1400.

Spielman, R. (2017). Psychology (OpenStax). Houston, TX: Rice University.

Wen, H., & Dong, Y. (2019). How does interpreting experience enhance working memory and short-term memory: A meta-analysis. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 31(8), 769-784.

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