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Chunking - Psychology Definition of the Week

By , black-rose-bielefeld.de GuideJuly 29, 2011

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Definition: Chunking is a memory strategy that involves taking individual units of information and grouping them into larger units. When you are confronted with remembering a bunch of smaller pieces of information, such as items on your grocery list, trying to memorize all of them can be quite daunting. Chunking can make the memorization process easier and make it more likely that you'll recall the items later. In the example of trying to memorize your grocery shopping list, you might group items based on food categories. For example, you might create categories such as fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.

Phone number are one of the most widely used examples of chunking. For example, a phone number sequence of 5-5-5-6-9-5-4-5-7-2 would be chunked into 555-695-4572. Chunking can be particularly useful when you are trying to memorize large amounts of information, such as number sequences or word lists. By taking individual elements and placing them in sensible groupings, information becomes easier to retain and recall.

You can learn more about chunking by reading this overview of memory. Explore related information about memory retrieval, forgetting and some of the best memory improvement strategies.

Image courtesy Piotr Bizior

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