Working memory: learn to use your brain´s RAM

Working memory is a cognitive process with a limited capacity that is responsible for temporarily retaining the information available for processing. 

Scientists place it in the prefrontal cortex. 

So is working memory short-term memory? We believe not. 

Short-term memory is a storage system. Working memory is a process that uses memory to perform tasks. 

The closest thing to working memory is RAM, the memory in your computer or cell phone that saturates when you have many programs open (and also drains more battery). 

So this cognitive system allows us to retain and manipulate information for a few seconds during problem solving or other mental activities. We use working memory to guide our decision making taking taking into account past experiences and anticipating the future. 

People with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) may have a smaller working memory capacity, affecting the speed of processing instructions and generating cognitive overloads frequently. 

These overloads have a negative effect: the brain does not filter properly and relevant information is lost in working memory, affecting performance.

So working memory allows us to:

  • Retain information temporarily to use it step by step.  
  • Manipulate data to solve problems. 
  • Increase sense of time (what happened and what will happen).

Read the article on "Virtual Classes and ADHD"

How can working memory be "managed"?

There are several strategies, we are going to tell you how to externalize the information to increase it with elements of the environment. 

Rule 1: Reduce the information.Your brain is naturally not good at using its biological storage. Use a notebook, writing device, diagrams, or charts to get the information out of your head. 

Rule 2: Visualize the information. The verbal transmission of data, tasks, concepts, is usually inefficient because it inevitably saturates the working memory. Use diagrams, graphs, tables, mind maps, or photos. For example: use a piece of paper to make a diagram of a house to put information in the rooms. 

Rule 3: Narrow the Choices. Work on as few problems as possible at a time. For example: first study the central concepts and then the details. If there is a problem or concern, write it down, you will deal with it later. 

In summary: to learn to manage your working memory:

  1. Choose 1 (one) technique and practice it.
  2. Once you automate it (or decide it doesn't work for you), choose another one.

If you want to evaluate your ADHD - Check here

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