ChunkingOpen Access

Chunking

We process information better when put into small groups

The same information presented in a form that is easier to process has a significant effect on our ability to first read and then remember it.

Mathy & Feldman (2012). What’s magic about magic numbers? Chunking and data compression in short-term memory. Cognition.

The study

Setup

48 people were shown 100 sets of numbers of different lengths, split up into a number of smaller chunks. After seeing each set, they were asked to recall the numbers in a memory test.

Results

The results found that, on average, people were good at remembering about 7 numbers and 4 chunks before memory errors started kicking in.

Study graph

Key Takeaways

Chunk for clarity.

Our short-term memory is limited, so whether you're designing a food menu or trying to share a new idea, prevent Analysis Paralysis by breaking information down into 3-5 smaller bites that are easier to process. 

Takeaway image

Chunk requests.

If you're asking for a lot of info from customers, how can you break the task into more manageable segments? Data capture company, Typeform are a great example of this, turning the concept of chunking into a core USP for its data capture products.

Takeaway image

Chunk for long-term understanding.

Boost knowledge retention by structuring each chunk learned to build upon what was learned in previous ones. Repeat past chunks to build a strong, modular connection between fragmented bouts of learning.

Language app, Duolingo does this in an engaging visual way.

Takeaway image
Takeaway image
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Chunking

Chunking

We process information better when put into small groups

The same information presented in a form that is easier to process has a significant effect on our ability to first read and then remember it.

The study

Setup

48 people were shown 100 sets of numbers of different lengths, split up into a number of smaller chunks. After seeing each set, they were asked to recall the numbers in a memory test.

Results

The results found that, on average, people were good at remembering about 7 numbers and 4 chunks before memory errors started kicking in.

study graph
np_read_2490885_000000

In detail

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Risk Aversion
We don’t like uncertainty and generally stick to what we know
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