Resources, Assessments, and Training for Improving Working Memory

New – Essentials of Working Memory Assessment and Intervention

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Coming in Septempber 2015 Essentials Working Memory Assessment and InterventionPRE-ORDER FOR EARLIEST ACCESS – Delivery September 2015
This 304-page book begins by explaining working memory and how working memory deficits cause a variety of learning problems and learning disabilities. It then discusses some causes of working memory deficits and how working memory functions in the brain. Two chapters provide detailed guidance on how to strengthen and support working memory in the classroom and in daily life. These chapters include evidence-based methods such as teaching memory strategies, reducing cognitive load, working memory exercises, and modifications and accommodations. The remainder of the book focuses on step-by-step guidelines for organizing a multi-battery assessment, analyzing test scores, and interpreting test results.

Working Memory in the Classroom

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image working memory classroom guideThis four-page laminated reference guide is packed with valuable information for teachers, parents, psychologists, and related professionals. Working memory (WM) has a strong influence on all aspects of scholastic learning and performance. Students with a working memory deficit are at a high risk for learning disabilities. This guide explains the relationships working memory has with all types of academic learning. It then provides details on several evidence-based working memory interventions. References For Working Memory In The Classroom Guide

What is working memory?

Working memory (WM) is the ability to keep information in mind while thinking about the information, thinking about something else, or engaging in some other mental process. Working memory is the combination of short-term memory and mental processing. See the WM Details page for more information.

Why is working memory important?

We use working memory constantly as we think and do things. For example, when you forget what you were going to say it’s because the information has been lost from your working memory. Classroom learning and getting information into long-term memory also depend heavily on working memory (See WM in the Classroom).

How long is information held in working memory?

brain_logo_by John WoodUnless information is being used, being refreshed, or being repeated, it will only remain in working memory (and short-term memory) for just a few seconds. For example, if you look up a new phone number and then don’t do anything with it you will almost always forget it within 10 seconds. If you still recall the new number after 10 seconds, you are most likely retrieving it from long-term memory.

How much information can be held in working memory?

When we are not doing any challenging mental processing, the typical adult can retain about seven pieces or “chunks” of information in short-term memory. When working memory is active we can only maintain a maximum of four chunks at the same time.

Working Memory Testing and Deficits

For accurate results, working memory should be tested with a standardized psychological test. For more information about working memory testing, see the WM Testing page. Below average ability in working memory (a deficit) can cause learning and memory problems. A child with a working memory deficit is at-risk for learning problems and learning disabilities (see the WM Deficit page). Adults typically experience a normal decline in working memory when they reach their fifties.

WM Exercises and Strategies

Research has found that certain types of working memory exercises can increase working memory capacity. To be effective, brain-training exercises need to consistently challenge working memory. There are also strategies that can enhance working memory performance. Examples can be found on the WM Exercises and Strategies page.