Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina Brain Rule # 6 Repeat to Remember –(part 1 Working Memory)


Medina continues his treatise on memory in this new, but identical rule – repeat to remember. Old metaphors do not describe well what we now understand as the process of memory. Short-term memory is much more active than previously thought.

“Working memory is now known to be a busy, temporary workspace, a desktop the brain uses to process newly acquired information.” P.124

According to Alan Baddeley, British scientist, there are three or four components of working memory:

1) Retention of some auditory information – phonological loop;

2) Retention of some visual information – images and spatial;

3) Central executive – keeping track of all activities throughout this three part process.

4) Episodic buffer (later added; not as widely accepted or developed) any story a person may hear– with limited capacity and duration.

Medina illustrates working memory with the great chess champion, Miguel Najdorf, who played 45 chess games simultaneously within 11 hours – winning 39; tied 4 and lost 2 all while blindfolded. His opponents had to verbally announce their moves and thus he was able to visualize each game in his working memory.

At this point in Rule 6, Medina begins to describe long-term memory which we will discuss next time.


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