Abstract In a dual-task paradigm, a visual display (T 1) containing characters (letters or symbols) was presented first, followed by an auditory signal (T 2) at various stimulus-onset asynchronies (SOAs). A speeded response to T 2was required. When the information in T 1had to be recalled later, response times to T 2(RT 2) were elevated at short SOAs and decreased as SOA was increased. The effects on RT 2were larger when there were more items to be remembered. We interpreted the results as evidence that encoding information into short-term memory (STM) involves a distinct process, which we call short-term consolidation (STC). The results suggested that STC has limited capacity and that it requires central processing mechanisms. Additional evidence suggested that no memory for T 1was formed in STM when STC was not engaged.