While you clicked on a link to read this article, did you momentarily forget why you came online, if just for a minute? Have you picked up the phone and forgotten who you were going to call? Ever walked into the grocery store and forgotten what you needed to buy? It has probably happened to all of us. Because an important part of our hippocampus, which is responsible for remembering all of these small little tidbits of information temporarily in our brains, is something we don’t always adhere to.
Working memory. It is the temporary retention of a small amount of information that can be held in our minds, readily accessible to execute cognitive tasks like remembering the PIN number when making online transactions or remembering a friend’s name whom we haven’t met in a long while. This memory is used to recollect information while being engrossed in a task or activity. It enables people from infancy to old age to plan, comprehend, concentrate, reason, learn, solve problems and resist distractions. When children learn, their academic progress depends on working memory as new information layers upon previously gained knowledge. As children grow into adults, we need working memory to get through everyday reasoning and decision-making!
Unfortunately, the efficiency of our working memory can be greatly compromised when we are highly stressed or fatigued, which is why we tend to be more forgetful when under pressure or anxiety. With the pandemic stripping professionals of the luxury of working in offices with social interaction and students from interacting with peers, our brains have lost cues to remembering things, leading to working memory errors. Socialising with colleagues and classmates while swapping stories of day-to-day events helps consolidate our memories. The lack of it makes this a bit blurry in our minds, gradually making us forget important information, which would otherwise be much easier to recall.
Children with weak working memory skills find it difficult to hold incoming information, maintain focus and concentration while processing simple tasks like following multiple step-by-step instructions, recognising and reproducing patterns in Math, remembering, sequencing, and visualising information or concentrating on a single task till completion. Working memory is a requisite for many skills children use when learning to read fluently with less hesitation.
Fortunately, there are various remedies for this, which can improve working memory and attention. Recent studies show how lifestyle habits can play a large and important role in maintaining cognitive function, including regular exercise, maintaining a healthy BMI, eating a varied and healthy diet and nutraceutical supplements. In addition, training on working memory provided by services like Cogmed.
Cogmed Working Memory Training is the single most scientifically validated method that can aid the improvisation of working memory and attention in both children and adults. Designed by cognitive neuroscientists and psychologists from the Karolinska Institute, leading independent research teams have proven its efficacy in scores of studies. Professionals in practices worldwide have achieved significant improvements in people with attention deficits such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), learning difficulties, brain injuries and pediatric cancer survivors.
Cogmed training can be conducted remotely while keeping children and adults thoroughly engaged through novel computer game designs.
If you are interested in learning more about the science of Cogmed and the Cogmed method, visit www.cogmed.com. Pearson is currently looking for Cogmed Coaches to offer this training as part of your practice so if you feel that this might be beneficial for your clients or students, go to Cogmed.