Working Memory is one of the short-term memories that are impacted by attention and the executive functions. It is often compared to RAM on the computer that stores information online while the information is being processed. RAM is having enough short-term memory on the computer to open multiple files, compare them, and create new files based on the information. Working memory is where complex tasks are performed and problems are solved.
Working memory impacts retrieval of information from long-term memory. One interesting point is that when you have an interest or talent it can impact working memory.
Many people do not know at which age working memory develops. Here is a list of some of the developmental norms for working memory:
• 7-8 year old can hold 3 pieces of information
• 11 year old can hold 4-5 pieces of information
• 15 year old can hold 7 pieces of information
Some of the most effective strategies to improve working memory are to reduce the amount of material presented at one time, hook new concepts to previous learning, and translate complex material into meaningful examples.
Rehearsing what you just learned through discussion and then applying it to a meaningful activity also increases the ability to hold things in working memory. Repeating and practicing also increases the ability to automatically hold items in memory.
One of the most effective strategies to improve working memory is to externalize information by recording items that you want to remember on paper or in an electronic format.
© Sheryl K. Pruitt, M.Ed., ET/P, 2011