How to Test Your Short Term Memory

Written by debbie glasser
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How to Test Your Short Term Memory
How good is your memory? (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Short term memory, also called working memory, briefly uses limited storage for a task at hand. Daily activities use short term memory, such as recalling a stored phone number as you are dialling. Information gained anywhere from two minutes ago to as long as you can remember back goes into long term memory. The average person holds seven pieces of information in her short term memory. Test and improve your short term memory by playing simple memory games.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Tray or big plate
  • 10-20 small household items (eraser, pencil, coin, marble, etc.)
  • Hand towel to cover the tray
  • Paper
  • Pencils

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Instructions

    How Many Items Can You Remember?

  1. 1

    Put small objects found around the house on a tray. Cover the objects with a towel so the participants cannot see them.

  2. 2

    Tell your participants there are several objects under the towel. Once you lift the towel from the tray, they have one minute to view the objects. They must remember as many of the objects as possible.

  3. 3

    Remove the towel from the tray, and start timing one minute.

  4. 4

    After one minute cover the objects with the towel.

  5. 5

    Ask your participants to write down as many items as they can remember from the tray. Give them a few moments to complete this task.

  6. 6

    Ask your participants how many items they remember out of the total number of items. The more items a person remembers, the better the short term memory.

    What Is Missing?

  1. 1

    Put small objects found around the house on a tray. Cover the objects with a towel so the participants cannot see them.

  2. 2

    Tell your participants there are several objects under the towel. Once you lift the towel from the tray, they have one minute to view the objects. They must remember as many of the objects as possible.

  3. 3

    Remove the towel from the tray and start timing one minute.

  4. 4

    After one minute cover the objects with the towel.

  5. 5

    Without letting the particants see, remove one of the items from the tray.

  6. 6

    Remove the towel, and show the tray to your participants again. Ask them, "What is missing?" Can they identify what you removed?

  7. 7

    Play the game again, but this time remove three to four objects

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