Miller's law

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Miller's law can refer to three different principles.

In communication[edit]

Miller's law, part of his theory of communication, was formulated by George A. Miller (1920–2012), Professor pf Psychology at Princeton University.

It instructs us to suspend judgment about what someone is saying so that we can first understand them without imbuing their message with our own personal interpretations. The law states:

To understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to imagine what it could be true of.

In psychology[edit]

The observation, also by George A. Miller, published in 1956 in Psychological Review, that the number of objects an average person can hold in working memory is about seven,[4] also known as 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 – 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.