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The experiment used signal detection theory to study the way information encoded in the short-term memory, taking Chinese character and English word as materials. The results of the experiment showed that the subjects could choose different ways of encoding flexibly, according to variable stimulus situations. Acoustic code was found may be the main encoding mode in this experiment. Yet the experiment got another result that the discrimination of Chinese character is higher than that of English, and difference between them is significant, which is likely to be caused by the influence of the subjects' mother tongue.