ADVERTISEMENT

Your Inner Spam Filter

What makes you so smart? Might be your lizard brain
THIS IS A PREVIEW.
or subscribe to access the full article.

Anyone who has tried to find an urgent e-mail amid masses of advertisements for dubious stock opportunities and sexual-enhancement drugs understands the critical importance of being able to filter out distracting information. That e-mail you seek may be in there, but it is lost among irrelevant clutter.

Although the capacity of our computer’s e-mail in-box is limited only by disk space, our mental “in-box” of working memory—the brain regions and processes that create temporary storage—is much more constrained. In fact, several decades of research have in­dicated that our capacity to hold information “in mind” for immediate use is limited to a mere three or four items.

THIS IS A PREVIEW.
or subscribe to access the full article.
Buy Digital Issue $7.95
Digital Subscription $19.99 Subscribe
Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

The Pi Day Commemorative Package

Get 3 of our best-selling Pi topic issues
Plus a FREE Bonus Issue!

Add to your cart now for just $9.99 >

X

Email this Article

X