Miller's law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Miller's law can refer to three different principles.

In communication[edit]

Miller's law was formulated by George Armitage Miller (1920–2012), a professor of psychology at Princeton University, as part of his theory of communication. According to it, one should suspend judgment about what someone else is saying to first understand them without imbuing their message with personal interpretations.

...that in order to understand what someone is telling you, it is necessary for you to assume the person is being truthful, then imagine what could be true about it.

In psychology[edit]

The observation, also by George A. Miller, that the number of objects the average person can hold in working memory is about seven.[4] It was put forward in a 1956 edition of Psychological Review in a paper titled "The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two".[5][6][7]

In software development[edit]

Miller's Law was formulated by Mike Beltzner and is named in respect of Dave Miller, long-standing owner of the Bugzilla product:

All discussions of incremental updates to Bugzilla will eventually trend towards proposals for large scale redesigns or feature additions or replacements for Bugzilla.

— Mike Beltzner[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Language in Emergency MEDICINE". Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  2. ^ "What is Miller's Law and what is it for?". Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  3. ^ Schafer, Jack (May 29, 2019). Psychological Narrative Analysis: A Professional Method to Detect Deception in Written and Oral Communications (2nd Ed.). Charles C Thomas Publisher. ISBN 9780398092801 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Miller, G. A. (1956). "The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information". Psychological Review. 63 (2): 81–97. CiteSeerX doi:10.1037/h0043158. PMID 13310704.
  5. ^ "Miller's Law". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  6. ^ Boag, Simon; Brakel, Linda A. W.; Talvitie, Vesa (8 November 2018). Philosophy, Science, and Psychoanalysis: A Critical Meeting. Karnac Books. ISBN 9781780491899. Retrieved 8 November 2018 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Talvitie, Vesa (8 November 2018). The Foundations of Psychoanalytic Theories: Project for a Scientific Enough Psychoanalysis. Karnac Books. ISBN 9781855758179. Retrieved 8 November 2018 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "Miller's Law". Retrieved 10 December 2015.