[Overton]Verbal Short-Term Memory

Verbal short-term memory refers to the ability to hold verbal information in a temporary storage area while it is either processed for understanding or stored in long-term memory. One theory of short-term memory states that the system is comprised of two parts. The first of these parts is responsible for the phonological (sound) representation of individual words and their temporary storage. The second part is responsible for rehearsal of the information to be remembered (e.g., repeating a phone number until it can be dialed). This rehearsal process is necessary because the memory trace begins to decay after one or two seconds. There are several ways to assess verbal short-term memory, but it is typically measured by asking individuals to recall a series of unrelated verbal items, such as digits or words, in the correct sequence immediately following their presentation.

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Last revised: September 14, 2003