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Definition

Working memory refers to the temporary storage of information that is currently being used in a cognitive task, and it's one of the core executive function skills. 

Working memory is not the same as short-term memory, as while the latter requires only storage of information by the person, the former requires both storage and processing of the information. Children need their working memory for a whole range of day-to-day activities, like carrying out instructions, reading comprehension, doing math sums in their head, problem solving, or daily organisation. 

Diamond, A. et al. (2007) Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Cognitive control skills important for success in school and life are amenable to improvement in at-risk preschoolers without costly interventions.

Date:
January 2007
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
318
Page/s:
1387-1388
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Pretend play
  • Socio-economic background
  • Working memory
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:

Nath, S. et al. (2014) Construction play and cognitive skills associated with the development of mathematical abilities in 7-year-old children (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Construction play is thought to develop logico-mathematical skills, however the underlying mechanisms have not been defined. In order to fill this gap, this study looks at the relationship between Lego con- struction ability, cognitive abilities and mathematical performance in 7-year-old, Year 2 primary school children (N 1⁄4 66). While studies have focused on the relationship between mathematics performance and verbal memory, there are limited studies focussing on visuospatial memory. We tested both vi- suospatial and verbal working memory and short term memory, as well as non-verbal intelligence. Mathematical performance was measured through the WIAT-II numerical operations, and the word reading subtest was used as a control variable. We used a Lego construction task paradigm based on four task variables found to systematically increase construction task difficulty. The results suggest that Lego construction ability is positively related to mathematics performance, and visuospatial memory fully mediates this relationship. Future work of an intervention study using Lego construction training to develop visuospatial memory, which in turn may improve mathematics performance, is suggested.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
32
Page/s:
73-80
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Numeracy
  • Working memory
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Savina, E. (2014) Does play promote self-regulation in children? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This theoretical paper discusses the role of pretend play and games with rules in fostering children's self-regulation. It proposes several pathways through which play facilitates self-regulation processes. First, in play, children learn to inhibit their impulsive behaviour and follow rules which transform their behaviour from impulsive and spontaneous to mediated and voluntary. Second, play liberates children from situational constraints as children begin to act upon the meanings of objects as opposed to their immediate motivational valence. Third, children develop internal representations which guide their behaviour. Finally, play promotes verbal self-regulation as children are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with their partners in order to resolve differences in perspectives, to reach an agreement about roles, and to invent play rules. The paper further reviews empirical studies which explore the effect of play on inhibition, working memory, and private speech. The current status of play and implications for practice are discussed.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
184
Page/s:
1692-1705
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Games with rules
  • Literature review
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Working memory
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Whitebread, D. (1999) Interactions between children's metacognitive abilities, working memory capacity, strategies and performance during problem-solving (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This paper reports two related studies intended to explore the interactions between children's metacognitive abilities, their working memory capacity, the development and selection of strategies and their performance on problem-solving tasks. In the first study, a sample of 20 children aged 5 and 6 were presented with a reclassification task. In the second study, a sample of 72 children aged 6, 8 and 10 were presented with a multidimensional discrimination learning (MDL) task. Data was collected related to the children's metacognitive abilities, working memory capacity, response strategies and task performance. The results indicated that performance on both tasks was dependent upon developmentally changing interactions between these various aspects of cognitive functioning. In particular, the relationship of working memory capacity to performance was dependent upon metacognitive abilities. The results also suggested that metacognitive awareness did not directly affect performance, but that such a relationship was dependent upon the development of strategic control. The implications of these results for understanding U-shaped behavioural growth and other common developmental patterns are discussed. Within the educational sphere, the study emphasises the significance and possibility for children as learners of fostering certain kinds of metacognitive ability. Cet article rapporte les résultats de deux recherches destinées à explorer les interactions entre capacités métacognitives de l'enfant, capacité de la mémoire de travail, développement et sélection de stratégies, et performances à des tâches de résolution de problème. Dans la première étude, un échantillon de 20 enfants âgés de 5 ou 6 ans, était soumis à une tâche de reclassification. Dans la deuxième recherche, un échantillon de 72 enfants âgés de 6, 8 ou 10 ans était confronté à une tâche d'apprentissage de discrimination multidimensionnelle. Les résultats montrent que les performances aux deux tâches, dépendent des changements développementaux dans l'interaction entre les différents aspects du fonctionnement cognitif cités plus haut et mesurés dans cette recherche. En particulier, les relations entre mémoire de travail et performance dépendent des compétences métacognitives. Les résultats montrent aussi que la conscience métacognitive n'affecte pas directement les performances, mais que la relation entre les deux dépend du développement du contrôle stratégiques. Les explications des ces résultats pour l'interprétation des patrons de développement courants ou des évolutions en forme de U sont discutées. Dans le champ de l'éducation, l'étude contribue à mettre en valeur l'intérêt et la possibiblité d'encourager le développement de certains types de capacités métacognitives.

Author/s:
Date:
January 1999
Volume:
14
Page/s:
489-507
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Metacognition
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-regulation
  • Working memory
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: