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What is Chunking?


Chunking refers to the process of taking individual pieces of information and merging them into larger units. By grouping each data point into a larger group, you can improve the amount of information that you can remember. The most common example of chunking is phone numbers.

In cognitive psychology, chunking is the process by which individual pieces of an information set are bound together into a meaningful whole. The purpose of grouping information is to improve short-term retention of content, thus bypassing the limited capacity of working memory and allowing working memory to be more efficient. A chunk is a collection of basic units that are grouped together and stored in a person's memory. These pieces can be easily obtained because of their coherent grouping.

It is assumed that individuals create a higher-order cognitive representation of objects within the chunk. Objects are more easily remembered as a group than as individual items. These sections (chunks) can be highly subjective because they rely on an individual's perceptions and past experiences, which are linked to an information set. The size of the chunk typically ranges from two to six items but often varies depending on language and culture.

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