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Chapter 6. Hear the Message > Listening is Voluntary

Listening is Voluntary

From the constant noise around us, we select what we want to listen to. This information moves from short term memory (STM) to long term memory (LTM). Short term memory is a “holding pen” for incoming signals from our five senses. In order to protect us from too much stimulation STM has a limited capacity and is easily disrupted. For instance, a mail clerk would not likely retain much information from a technical discussion about data transport protocols because he or she would have no use for the message. The information would probably be held in STM for 1 to 30 seconds and then dismissed. If the information we hear is not recognized and selected for processing, it is dismissed from STM and not remembered.

In a sense, we are preprogrammed. Our choices of what to listen to come from previous choices based on interests and needs. John enjoys investing in the stock market, so he always has his “ears open” for tips on hot stocks. Ellie “tunes in” whenever someone is discussing consumer rights. Julio “catches” the football scores each Sunday to track his favorite teams. In other words, we choose what we want to listen to, and often it is based on our past choices.


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