About Working Memory

Working memory is the search engine of the mind

Working memory is the cognitive function responsible for keeping information online, manipulating it, and using it in your thinking. It is the way that you delegate the things you encounter to the parts of your brain that can take action. In this way, working memory is necessary for staying focused on a task, blocking out distractions, and keeping you updated and aware about what’s going on around you.

We use our working memory constantly in daily life helping us to perform efficiently and effectively in academic, professional, and social settings. Cogmed exists to help you improve your working memory to be better equipped to meet your challenges.

The guide below provides examples of how the working memory works and how a working memory deficit disrupts daily life at various age levels.

Age

Working memory is crucial for…

Indicators that a working memory needs exercise

 

Pre school

 

  • Learning the alphabet
  • Focusing on short instructions such as “Come brush your teeth”
  • Remaining seated to complete independent activities, such as puzzles
  • Seems unwilling or unable to learn alphabet, numbers
  • Can’t focus long enough to grasp and follow instructions
  • Flits from one thing to another

 

Elementary school

 

  • Reading and understanding the content (reading comprehension)
  • Mental arithmetic
  • Interacting and responding appropriately in peer activities such as playing on the school ground
  • Reads (decodes) but does not understand or remember material read
  • Problems memorizing math facts
  • Difficulty participating in group activities (e.g. awaiting turn); makes friends but cannot keep them

 

Middle school

 

  • Doing homework independently
  • Planning and packing for an activity
  • Solving multi-step math problems, especially word problems
  • Participating in team sports
  • Does not begin or persist with homework without supervision
  • Packs but forgets items essential for activity
  • Reads the problem but can’t break it into understandable parts
  • Problems grasping rules of a game, functioning as a “team player”

 

High school

 

  • Getting a driver’s license – and driving safely
  • Understanding social cues, responding to demands of a social situation
  • Writing essays, reports
  • Problems with spatial awareness, reading and following traffic cues
  • Interrupts, talks excessively, doesn’t listen to others
  • Essays and reports are short, sloppy, and disorganized

 

College

 

  • Focusing on and following a conversation
  • Making and adhering to work plans, such as studying for an exam successfully
  • Participating in group activities in school and socially
  • Sustaining focus and interest throughout lectures
  • Changes topics suddenly, makes irrelevant comments
  • Procrastinates, then tries to “cram” the night before an exam
  • Doesn’t listen or participate during group activities
  • Falls asleep or “zones out” during lectures

 

Adults

 

  • Getting to work on time
  • Meeting deadlines at work
  • Prioritizing multiple activities
  • Handling conflicts within the family
  • Frequently late to work
  • Often underestimates time required for a task
  • Has problems breaking a project into manageable steps
  • Often loses temper with children and spouse

 

Seniors

 

  • Actively participate in group discussions
  • Being able to perform what you are planning to do
  • Organizing your materials and activities
  • Managing important financial transactions
  • Forgetfulness
  • Distractability
  • Losing track of the topic in a conversation
  • Misplacing things like glasses, mobile phone, keys etc