Working Memory Deficit

The term 'working memory' is used to describe the ability we have to hold in mind and mentally manipulates information over a short period of time. Working memory is often thought of as a mental workspace that we can use to store important information in the course of our mental activities.

Without working memory, we would not be able to carry out this kind of complex mental activity in which we have to both keep in mind some information while processing other material.

Working memory is a newer concept than commonly known term, Short-Term Memory. The two are often used interchangeably; however, working memory emphasizes the brain's manipulation of information it receives (using it, storing it, and so on), while short-term memory is a more passive concept. It has limited capacity in which the information is usually retained up to 30 seconds and it can hold 7 (+/-2) items at a time.

Working memory capacity has been correlated with:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Learning to spell
  • Writing
  • Following directions
  • Reasoning

Signs and Symptoms:

Individuals with working memory are

  • Reserved in group activities in the classroom, will rarely volunteer giving the answers and sometimes may not answer direct questions
  • Forgets part or all of the instructions or messages, or do not see the tasks through to its completion
  • Frequently lose their place in complicated tasks and they may eventually abandon it
  • Make poor academic progress during the school years, particularly in the areas of reading and mathematics
  • Are considered by their teachers to have short attention spans and also that they get easily distracted