Medical Dictionary

working memory


Medical Definition of working memory

  1. :  memory that involves storing, focusing attention on, and manipulating information for a relatively short period of time (such as a few seconds) A simple activity involving working memory is the carry-over operation in mental arithmetic, which requires temporarily storing a string of numbers and holding the sum of one addition in mind while calculating the next.—Patricia S. Goldman-Rakic, Scientific American, September 1992 Your short-term memory might help you to remember what someone has just said to you, for example, but your working memory would allow you to recite it to them backwards or pick out the first letter of each word.—Jonathan K. Foster, New Scientist, 3 Dec. 2011

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