How to improve working memory?

Nov 07, 2016

What exactly is the "working memory"?

Memory refers to the encoding or learning, storing and recalling of information whenever needed. Working memory(WM) and short term memory(STM) are treated like synonyms, but technically STM refers to the maintenace of information whereas WM refers to the maintenance and controlled manipulation of a limited amount of information before recall. WM refers more to the whole theoretical framework of structures and processes used for the temporary storage and manipulation of information and STM is just one component of it.

Peter Doolittle: How your "working memory" makes sense of the world

Fluid intelligence is associated with WM and is related to the reasoning and solving problems, without prior knowledge, like thinking abstractly or identifying patterns or to distinguish relations or solving puzzles or to see connections and to get to the bottom of things. This ability is considered independent of learning, experience, and education. WM is so closely related fluid intelligence that at times they’re even considered identical. Fluid intelligence has long been known to peak in early adulthood, around college age, and then to decline gradually as they age. It is often affected by disease, or injury.

Weak WM skills can affect learning in many different subject areas including reading and math. The part of the brain responsible for WM is also responsible for maintaining focus and concentration. There are two types of working memory: auditory memory and visual-spatial memory, both of which are very essential for learning. Working memory difficulties often co-exist with other issues, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and AD/HD but they can also be a stand-alone problem.

Now that we know the importance of working memory, the next question that arises is , How to improve working memory?

Sadly, there is no clear or most effective way, to improve WM, but one of the techniques that has shown promising success is ‘Brain training’ or ‘working memory training’ and we provide that at Brainturk.

Brain training aims at improving cognitive abilities making use of WM techniques, in the form of simple games and tests which require us to understand, inhibit and manipulate information, shifting and controlling attention, the ability to maintain two tasks simultaneously, recalling a sequence either in the order it was or in the reverse order or recalling where an element specifically was in the sequence. You can see more about WM training here.

In addition to working memory, there’s also the need to improve fluid intelligence by training other basic mental skills like perceptual speed which needs us to decide in a given time, whether a number is odd or even, visual tracking or quickly switching between a variety of tasks. In the brainturk website, there’s an entire section dedicated to games that help us improve fluid intelligence. Check out the fluid intelligence section at Brainturk.

Improving working memory is beneficial to everybody and not just those who are affected, so go ahead and try few of these games :