Working memory

From Academic Kids

In cognitive psychology, working memory is the collection of structures and processes within the brain used for temporarily storing and manipulating information (although the manipulation of working memory contents is increasingly being seen as attributable to executive function). Working memory consists of both memory for items which are currently being processed, and components governing attention and directing the processing itself. It should not be confused with short-term memory, which under this description can be considered a subset of working memory. Working memory may or may not be included under the rubric of executive function.

The three main structures of the Working Memory Model are the Central Executive, the primary managing processor for the other two structures, it alone distributes the tasks into the appropriate areas and assigns priority and mental capacity to whichever task is seen more important than the other.

Visuospatial Sketch Pad : Holds images and visual data and from that manipulates and processes the stimuli in order to produce the desired outcome, for examples judging distance while driving uses this function.

Articulate Phonological Loop : The last structure which deals with the manipulation and retention of auditory data, such as a particular sounds or words, a practical use for this is rehearsing a phone number while trying to find a piece of paper to write it on so you don't forget.

Testing: A Dual-Task Paradigm is perhaps the only ideal method of testing the Working Memory, where you have a visual or audio primary task, and then a visual or audio distraction task, and the ability to manage the four combinations of task will measure the subjects Working Memory Ability.

Recent studies suggest that working memory can be improved by working memory training. After this training, measured brain activity related to working memory increased in the areas traditionaly associated with working memory capacity.

Perhaps of greater importance, another study has found that after a period of working memory training an increase in a range of cognitive abilities and an increase in IQ test scores of approximately 8 percent. Consequently, this study implies that working memory underlies general intelligence and that improving the brain's working memory ability may be a method for increasing a person's IQ.

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