Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Working Memory Isn’t Working

I don’t know why, but my working memory isn’t working very well.

When I first read about “working memory” I was confused.  What is a “working” memory and how is that different from a plain old common found-around-the-house memory?

Well, for starters, according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “The term working memory refers to a brain system that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for such complex cognitive tasks as language comprehension, learning, and reasoning.”

I think of it as the difference between being able to remember that Al Kaline played right field for the Detroit Tigers in the 1960s, and being able to remember the phone number I looked up just before receiving a phone call.

In addition to mentioning the part about temporary storage and manipulation of data, Lumosity  - - points out that “It is critical for keeping your train of thought, making a point, and generally figuring things out. It has also been linked to aspects of fluid intelligence.” Lumosity goes on to say that working memory is important for:

  • Learning and reasoning
  • IQ and intelligence
  • Working with information in your head

They have three games that really focus on working memory:

  • Memory Match
  • Monster Garden
  • Memory Match Overload

They aren’t my favorite games, but they are they weak points that I need to work on. So I am (even though I rather play another game of Word Bubbles).

If you want to know more, according to an excerpt from Think Smart: A Neuroscientist’s Prescription for Improving Your Brain’s Performance by Richard Restak, posted on AARP’s website “The greatest enemy to people’s working memory is distraction. If you’re thinking of something else and aren’t really listening when you are told a telephone number the sequence won’t be encoded in your brain. Later, you won’t be able to retrieve it because distraction during the initial encoding process interfered with memory consolidation.” Here’s a link to that article:

If you’ve had success improving your working memory, please let me know how you did it.

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