Ever been narrating something to someone and then forgot what you were about to say? Or maybe you have opened the refrigerator to get something but realized you forgot what you came to get! Most likely that these have to do with how working memory works.
Why is working memory important
We use our working memory for anything and everything that we do. From driving to the grocery store to remembering the grocery list, working memory does it all.
It plays a big part in a person’s ability to pay attention and concentrate. To pay attention working memory is needed to constantly store and retrieve information. When this is affected, then attention gets affected. This is one of the key reasons why children facing ADHD have a harder time paying attention in class.
When making decisions we consider multiple aspects. This is stored in the short-term memory for the time that we take to make the decision.
Working memory is useful to solve numerical and mathematical problems, especially when there are a lot of steps involved, and when there is a need to remember the steps and numbers.
When children learn to read, they see each letter and try to memorize it before they move on to the next letter. If the ability to memorize is somehow hampered, they may forget the first letter by the time they reach the third letter. This can make reading difficult.
The same issue can happen with comprehension as well. By the time a child reaches the end of a passage, he might have forgotten the beginning of the passage. Comprehension may be impacted, and hence the child might not have a good understanding of what he/she just read.
Another interesting feature or function of working memory is spatial awareness. Working memory helps one remember where one is in a room in relation to the things around. This is important for one to move around without bumping into things on the way.
Improving working memory
There are many ways by which children and even adults can improve their working memory skills. The following are a few examples.
- By practicing to visualize things, be it while studying or narrating a story, we can help train the visual working memory.
- Instead of trying to remember information as it is, try memorizing in small groups. This is mostly how we tend to remember phone numbers by grouping them into groups of 2 – 4 digits.
- Connect and link separate pieces of information.
- Using checklists for managing tasks
- Developing and staying true to routines.
Interested to know more about Working Memory Training?
CogMed, an internationally acclaimed working memory improvement program, is a tool that helps a child, adult or senior adult to improve working memory. CogMed is designed to improve the brain systems responsible for attention and working memory. CogMed Working Memory Training can result in improvements that are equivalent to about two years of cognitive development in a child.
LMonk’s experienced Coaches can help children or adults to improve their working memory using CogMed.