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Working Memory

  • By: Wright Steven & Nelson Cowan
  • In: Encyclopedia of Educational Psychology
  • Edited by: Neil J. Salkind
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), Educational Psychology, School Psychology

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some just don't have film.

StevenWright

Working memory (or short-term memory) is information temporarily held accessible in the mind. It is used in the completion of mental tasks such as comprehending language, following instructions, and solving mathematical problems. Many working memory measures correlate with intelligence rather strongly, and the average capacity of working memory increases with age in childhood. An adult can concurrently hold in mind about 4 separate, simple items, or often about 7 items by using mnemonic strategies (such as remembering a telephone number by silently rehearsing it and breaking it in to groups of 3 or 4 digits). Working memory is important for educational psychology in at least two ways. First, knowledge of the demands of a task on ...

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