How does NLP help to improve memory performance? Psychologist George A. Miller carried out experiments on human processing of information and discovered that the maximum amount of bits of information that people could deal with simultaneously was between 5 and 9 or in other words 7 plus / minus 2. A bit of information is the amount needed to make a decision between two equally likely alternatives. For example, the result of tossing a coin will produce one bit of information.
When people reach a state of confusion or overwhelm, or cannot handle any more information without making mistakes, they will have reached their limit of channel capacity. You may find that when you start paying attention to the information coming in through your five senses, the physical sensations from within your body, and any thought about your past or future, you’ll soon become overloaded and unable to be aware of all this information simultaneously.
Miller refers to chunks of information. The example he gives is of someone learning the Morse code: starting from separate dots and dashes the learner soon learns the code for each letter, which will later progress into recognising words, and later whole phrases. The same is true for learning any physical or mental skill: dancing requires moving from individual steps through sequences to the entire dance. As we learn we increase the number of bits of information per chunk and the information later becomes organised into patterns.
So in order to maximise effective learning, encoding, and recall of information it is important to chunk things in ways that work for you – just as you chunk a phone number into manageable groups of three or four digits. For example, an area code of a phone number may contain three or four digits, but becomes one chunk of information. This allows you to remember more than between 5 and 9 bits of information, because each chunk can contain many bits.
Since it is as easy to remember a lot of information when the items are informationally rich as it is to remember little information when the items are informationally impoverished, it is economical to organize the material into rich chunks. To draw an analogy, it is as if we had to carry all our money in a purse that could only contain seven coins. It doesn’t matter to the purse whether the coins are pennies or silver dollars.
Contact me for more help with the application of NLP chunking to your memorizing, remembering, and daily life situations.