Re: Lists of Seven

Subject: Re: Lists of Seven
From: Susan Vineyard <vineyard -at- CHEROKEE -dot- NSUOK -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 09:36:47 -0500

I'm (slowly) working on a Ph.D. in tech writing, and so have been exposed to
quite a bit of theory. I learned in my tech writing classes that people have
trouble remembering, or processing, more than seven things at a time, so you
should "chunk" things in groups of seven or less. Of course, if you have
seven major items in your list, you can always place "chunks" of seven as sub
lists under the main seven. The theory is that when readers have processed a
list of seven, and it has become a "chunk," they can move on to more. I think.
Although I don't have the texts at work with me, I've seen that theory in quite
a few text books.

Susan Vineyard

Dick Margulis wrote:

> Folks,
> I've tried. Really I have. But please, can someone point me to the
> recent discussion (or a reference of some sort) concerning the fallacy
> that one must never ever have more than seven items in a list? Someone
> trotted out this chestnut in a meeting today and I promised to dig out
> authoritative information to the contrary. Help? Thanks in advance.
> Dick
> From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==

org:Northeastern State University;Computing and Telecommunicaitons
email;internet:vineyard -at- cherokee -dot- nsuok -dot- edu
title:Technical Writer
fn:Susan Vineyard

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