Definition: A working-memory process in which information is merely repeated or reviewed to keep it from fading while in working memory. Maintenance rehearsal involves no active elaboration.

Your short term memory is able to hold information for about 20 seconds. However, this time can be increased to around 30 seconds by using Maintenance Rehearsal.

Quite Simply...



  • Repeating something to "keep it in your head" or your working memory.
  • Repeating something either out loud or in your head multiple times to remember it for a short amount of time.
  • Repeatedly verbalizing or thinking about a piece of information, to store in working (short-term) memory.
  • A way to remember something by repeating it over and over again in your head.
  • Repeating words or numbers(or any thought) for a limited amount of time so you can recall it for that short time. (Very difficult to encode information in this way)

Examples of Maintenance Rehearsal



  • I asked a kid his name today so I could place a name under his picture in the yearbook. I repeated his name over and over and over again until I had a chance to write it down on my computer.
  • You look at a phone number in your phone so you can dial it and keep repeating it over and over again until you get to the dialing screen
  • You're making macaroni and cheese from a box. You look at the ingredient requirements on the box (such as the fact that you need a tablespoon of butter and three teaspoons of milk) and repeat them over in your head while you retrieve the necessary ingredients. This is so you don't forget the ingredients and their measurements and have to keep referring to the box's label over and over again in order to make your food
  • In the movie Finding Nemo, Dory, a fish with short term memory loss, repeats the address over and over again to remember it. "P. Shirman 42 Wallaby Way Sydney"
  • Repeating your social security number in the car over and over again so that you remember when your filling out your job application
  • Driving along a road looking for a house while repeating the house number to yourself
  • You go shopping, muttering "milk, butter, eggs..." to yourself in order to remember what you need to buy.
  • You get your schedule the first day of school and repeat the order of your classes in an attempt to memorize them
  • Repeating a phone number to yourself, so that you can remember it when you type the number into your phone
  • Writing your new address down over and over until you have it memorized.
  • Repeating the phone number your friend just gave you over and over again so you wont forget it.
  • Repeating your locker combination to yourself so you dont forget it.
  • Repeating your homework to yourself until you find a piece of paper to write it down.

See Also...