New information is easier to learn when composed of familiar elements

13 agosto 2015

People have more difficulty recalling the string of letters BIC, IAJ, FKI, RSU and SAF than FBI, CIA, JFK, IRS and USA. The well-established reason is that the amount of information we can hold in our short-term or working memory is affected by whether the information can be ‘chunked’ into larger units. New research takes this learning principle one step further by uncovering how the strength — or familiarity — of those chunks plays a crucial role.