The magical 'wave' seven plus or minus two?

Willy Wong, Shuji Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The idea of the magical number seven has been with us for over 40 years now. During this time, it has been studied extensively by both psychologists and other sensory scientists. One might be skeptical about any new results and ask 'What more possibly can we say about this topic?' However, in this paper, an attempt is made to refine the interpretation of the magical number by demonstrating that it is not so much a number, but actually a 'wave.' That is, independent of both experimental fluctuations and statistical bias, the magical number takes on a continuum of possible values. This prediction, made theoretically, is supported by existing experimental data. While this prediction does not amount to any significant change to the understanding of the magical number, it may however provide a criterion to judge the acceptability of any theory that purports to explain the magical number phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-398
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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