Our short term memory retains information for only short periods of time. In fact, it is probably no longer then 20 seconds. The television show Solitary is a reality show that takes nine participants and challenges them both mentally and physically for a cash reward. In the second episode of the second season, participants are shown a message one word at a time and asked to memorize it and then repeat it back. However, if they want to see the message again, they have to move a stack of bricks across the room.
In order to prolong their short-term memories, many of the participants used rehearsal. Some used both rehearsal and chunking. In the end, the participants finally memorized the message using these popular techniques. Knowing how our short-term memory works is very important because it allows us to use techniques to better our short-term memory. I would like to know, however, what the exact reasons are for why it took some participants longer than others to memorize the message.