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Lab notes . . .

May 5, 2015

I recently submitted a manuscript, Cognitive spans: A look at George A. Miller's magical number seven from a behavioral perspective.

Here's the Abstract:

The spans question asks: What is the nature of the 3 cognitive span limits? The curious performance limitations, known as the spans of immediate memory, attention, and absolute judgment, are prominent in the cognitive science literature, but have been largely ignored in the behavioral literature. Over the past 140 years many answers have been offered, but the matter is not settled. The so-called “memory” span experiment has been viewed in terms of memory, attention, learning, speed of rehearsal, and more. George A. Miller viewed it as a limit on the capacity to transmit chunks of information. B. F. Skinner viewed it as acquired echoic behavior. Most answers are mentalistic, but span theory views the limits in terms of stimulus control and owes much to both the cognitive and behavioral traditions.

Key words: magical number seven, memory span, attention span, span of absolute judgment, subitization span, span ability, neoPiagetian theory, working memory capacity, span theory, behaviorism, cognitive science

May 23, 2008

    I've been reading old drafts of my papers. Here's a piece I like:

While span theory rejects key features of each of its parent schools of thought, it has the key features of good scientific theories:
    (1) it deals with important issues;
    (2) it accounts for diverse phenomena in terms of a small number of concepts;
    (3) it resolves anomalous data;
    (4) it integrates (unifies) diverse phenomena;
    (5) it reduces the number of primitive terms and working assumptions to just a few, stimulus, response, and task, all of which are common to its parent schools of thought; and
    (6) it stimulates both basic and applied research.