Have you ever noticed that most telephone numbers are seven digits long (Excluding the area code)? This is not by accident. Research shows that for most people, seven digits is the most they can remember the first time they hear a phone number. People who can remember more than seven bits of information after a single exposure, do so by providing context to the information. Chunking is one way of providing context to information so that it can more easily be retained and retrieved from memory. In chunking, random information is grouped together, making it easier to remember. Try this for yourself; study the information below for 30 seconds and try to memorize it:
X M C F G L Z O E W Q P V 2 N 8 J 4 U A 4 3
How many symbols did you remember?
Now repeat this exercise using the line below.
XMC FGL ZOE WQP V2N 8J4U A43
Were you able to remember more symbols this time? The second line is an example of chunking. There is no difference between the first and second line other than that information in the second line was grouped into units, making remembering of the information less difficult.