We’ve all heard the terms ‘Long term memory,’ which refers to a large storage of information and a record of past events, and ‘Short term memory,’ which refers to the ability to store small amounts of information and keep it readily available for a short period of time. But are we familiar with the term “working memory”? What is working memory and What are the working memory examples? Remember when someone would say their phone number and you would try to remember it digit by digit? That’s, working memory. It is a cognitive system with a limited capacity that can temporarily store information. It is related to the concept of short-term memory, but it differs in complexity.
Let’s break it down a little more. There are numerous working memory examples available like a student can store a set of numbers in their short term memory, but when told to say the numbers backwards, they must be able to manipulate the information they have stored. Working memory comes into play here; it aids cognitive abilities such as planning, problem-solving, and reasoning. In layman’s terms, working memory is a system that temporarily stores and manages information required to perform a specific task.
There are two main subtypes of working memory that are prevalent in children and adults throughout their lives of completing daily tasks and activities, which develop at a similar rate during childhood and gradually increase as they progress to adulthood. However, there is a significant difference in working memory capacity between individuals of the same age.
This type of working memory entails the ability to remember something and then use it to perform an action. It primarily focuses on the auditory parts of the system; this type of working memory example would be when a student reads a paragraph aloud, it heavily relies on verbal working memory or when children are asked to remember a multistep set of instructions.
This type of working memory allows a person to visualise something and keep it in their ‘mind’s eye. It is particularly useful when a child is solving a math problem, they will visualise numbers and symbols in their mind to solve the problem. This type of memory is similar to the brain’s visual sketchpad.
Working memory is frequently cited as a major issue for many people suffering from ADHD (Attention- Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder). Those who have a poor working memory are more likely to have a learning disability.
Stay tuned for more information on working memory and how to improve it.
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