Mmmm, chunks  MAR 16 2005

Some new research is showing that the number of things humans can hold in our heads while solving problems is fairly small, three or four things at the most. Chunking makes it possible to remember more complex tasks:

It's difficult to measure the limits of processing capacity because most people automatically use problem solving skills to break down large complex problems into small, manageable "chunks." A baker, for example, will treat "cream butter, sugar and egg together" as a single chunk -- a single step in the process -- rather than thinking of each ingredient separately. Likewise she won't think, "break egg one into bowl, break egg two into bowl." She'll just think, "add all of the eggs."

I wonder how much the process of learning is just chunking task variables into larger and larger bits, building layers of abstraction the way a programmer might build an OO program.

kottke.org

Front page
About + contact
Site archives

Subscribe

Follow kottke.org on Twitter

Follow kottke.org on Tumblr

Like kottke.org on Facebook

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Advertisement

Ads by The Deck

Support kottke.org shop at Amazon

And more at Amazon.com

Looking for work?

More at We Work Remotely

Kottke @ Quarterly

Subscribe to Quarterly and get a real-life mailing from Jason every three months.

 

Enginehosting

Hosting provided EngineHosting