Photo of George A. Miller

George A. Miller

  • National Medal of Science
  • Behavioral And Social Science

For his innovative leadership in the scientific study of language and cognition, and for his commitment to improved education for literacy.

George A. Miller changed the future of psychology with one “magical number.”

Miller, the author of several papers books, is probably best known for a paper he wrote titled, “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two.”

In his famous paper, Miller analyzed short-term memory and asserted that people, when given a list of items like colors or numbers, can remember an average of seven things at one time.

“The Magical Number” showed that the brain was something that could be studied in a lab and pioneered a new division of the psychology field — cognitive psychology.

In 1960, Miller and associate Jerome S. Bruner established The Center for Cognitive Studies at Harvard — the first institution of its kind.

Miller’s lucky number stuck with him throughout his life. When he was 77, he made his first and only hole-in-one on the seventh green of a golf course using a seven-iron club.

By Rachel Warren