Working memory is the brain function that allows us to hold information in memory long enough to manipulate or perform some function on it in order to solve a problem or come up with a response. It is considered an "executive function", which is a set of cognitive abilities that allow us to plan, organize, self monitor, initiate and inhibit responses, and shift gears as needed.
We use our working memory everyday for all kinds of tasks. Pearson's Cogmed website provides a handy chart (see below) of some of the ways we use working memory in all stages of development:
|Age||Working memory is crucial for…||Indicators that a working memory needs exercise|
As you can see, if an individual has problems with their working memory they may experience significant difficulties across a broad range of tasks and in a variety of situations. A number of different conditions can be correlated with working memory problems such as: attention deficits or learning disorders, brain injury, stroke, being over-committed, or even the natural effects of aging.
Fortunately, we are discovering that working memory can be improved. One way of doing so is using a working memory training program such as Cogmed. According to Pearson, "Cogmed Working Memory Training is an evidence-based training program developed by leading neuroscientists to improve attention in individuals with weak working memory. Cogmed is backed by peer-reviewed, controlled research done at leading universities around the world and is proven to lead to significant, real life improvements in 80% of users."
If you are interested in learning more about Cogmed, please visit the Pearson Cogmed website or the YouTube Cogmed Video Channel. My website provides additional information about ADHD, learning differences and other mental health concerns, http://www.kctherapist.com/.