Working memory

 

Short-term memory is the ability to recall information for a very short time to use it immediately. For instance, we use short-term memory to dial a phone number once the directory is closed.

The term "working memory" appeared in the 1960s. It refers to short-term memory and proposes a model that describes its function, emphasizing on the information path, from reception to retrieval. Today, this term is often used to describe short-term memory.
In 1974, Baddeley and Hitch first proposed a theory to explain working memory function. They described working memory as an amalgam of 3 components:

1. the phonological loop, which stores all phonological information by repeating it continuously

2. the visuo-spatial sketchpad, responsible for the storage of visual and spatial information

3. the central executive, which acts as a "bandmaster," arbitrating the relevance of information, coordinating the entire process, and enabling one to perform several tasks simultaneously.



The chief role that working memory plays in our everyday life must be highlighted. Perfunctory tasks, such as watching a film, parking a car, and trying a new cooking recipe, require working memory. Working memory is therefore constantly solicited, especially at work, and is directly linked to individual performance.