Get better short-term working memory?

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qawer
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29 May 2014, 5:51 pm

I wonder if it is possible to somehow get better short-term working memory?

It seems like that is what is needed to being better at naturally handling social situations, although I could be wrong.

I have great long term memory (sometimes almost too great, I remember abuse/bullying years after), so I think the problem could be the lower than average short term memory.



Norny
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30 May 2014, 12:29 am

I'm not sure if it works or not, but you can try inserting a few more RAM sticks into your head.

Jokes, lol.

I don't think there's any way to improve short-term memory, only that it can be assisted by notes etc.


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eggheadjr
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30 May 2014, 11:23 am

Post-it-notes and paper lists are a wonderful thing.


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OlivG
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30 May 2014, 11:25 am

eggheadjr wrote:
Post-it-notes and paper lists are a wonderful thing.


Actually they make your working memory even worse because you are not using it. It happened to me but I keep doing it anyway.



ashkent
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30 May 2014, 11:33 am

To improve short term memory you need to practice using it on a regular basis. I'm sure there's plenty of exercises to be found on the internet. I remember a game when I was a boy called "Kim's Game" (I think) whereby you had a minute to remember a number of random items on a tray. The tray was then covered with a towel and you had to try to remember as may items on that tray as possible.

You could try something along those lines and then extend it. For example, look at the tray and then go away and do something (cook dinner) and then come back and then try to recall the items on the tray.

I also concur in that things like post-it notes don't help all that much.


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Rocket123
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30 May 2014, 12:29 pm

My working memory for dealing with complex, unstructured information (including, but not limited to such things as following verbal directions) is quite poor.

Since I was quite young (as early as Middle School), I compensated for this by writing things down. It was quite common for me to be the most prolific note taker in class (having easily 2-3x the amount of written notes than anyone else in class). I have a reasonably good system these days. Which certainly helps.

So, if my short-term memory improved, I would become better at multi-tasking. I imagine this would make me better at socializing (since conversation requires a lot of multi-tasking).

Though, I wonder if my short-term memory improved, how it would impact other areas of cognitive processing. Would those restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior go away as well? I wonder.



qawer
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30 May 2014, 12:49 pm

Rocket123 wrote:
My working memory for dealing with complex, unstructured information (including, but not limited to such things as following verbal directions) is quite poor.

Since I was quite young (as early as Middle School), I compensated for this by writing things down. It was quite common for me to be the most prolific note taker in class (having easily 2-3x the amount of written notes than anyone else in class). I have a reasonably good system these days. Which certainly helps.

So, if my short-term memory improved, I would become better at multi-tasking. I imagine this would make me better at socializing (since conversation requires a lot of multi-tasking).

Though, I wonder if my short-term memory improved, how it would impact other areas of cognitive processing. Would those restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior go away as well? I wonder.


I somehow think many of our problems are related to poor short-term working memory. For instance multi-tasking and socializing.



Rocket123
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30 May 2014, 7:14 pm

qawer wrote:
I somehow think many of our problems are related to poor short-term working memory. For instance multi-tasking and socializing.


I agree.

As I posted in another thread, I am reading an interesting book by Dr. Valerie Gaus entitled, ?Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Adult Asperger Syndrome?.

Dr. Gaus writes, ?A major assumption behind the material I present in this book is that AS is driven by an idiosyncratic information-processing system that leads to numerous negative consequences for the affected individual?.

She has developed an interesting model (see below) that explains how this leads to other mental health issues (including, but not limited to, anxiety and depression).

[img][800:664]http://www.anony.ws/i/2014/05/08/8lWAo.jpg[/img]



jrjones9933
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30 May 2014, 7:19 pm

I use my auxiliary brain for scheduling (smartphone), and thereby free up memory resources for other tasks. I don't agree that it necessarily makes short-term memory worse, although I can see how it could if you didn't direct those mental resources toward other tasks.



Apple_in_my_Eye
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30 May 2014, 7:31 pm

My short term memory is abysmal.

My short term memory is abysmal.

The -racetams (i.e. piracetam, aniracetam, oxyracetam) are supposed to improve short-term memory, though I've not been able to achieve that due to side effects.



dianthus
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30 May 2014, 8:20 pm

qawer wrote:
I somehow think many of our problems are related to poor short-term working memory. For instance multi-tasking and socializing.


Definitely. It is for me. Sometimes I can't be sociable at all just because I'm trying to remember something or not misplace or lose my things.

In school when we changed classes, I couldn't stop to talk to anyone, because if I did I would completely forget what class I was headed to next, what time of day it was, or how long it had been since the bell rang. When my mind goes blank like that it gives me a really panicky feeling.

I don't know if it really helps to do things memory exercises or games. I think you have to work on it in the actual context where it affects you. In my job I used to find it impossible to remember a person's name after they introduced themselves to me. I have gotten slightly better at it just by concentrating on doing that one thing in particular. I'm talking about just being able to remember their name through that first few minutes of conversation until I can make a permanent note of it in my contacts list. It takes a lot of effort just to do that and I still forget sometimes and have to ask again what their name is.

Also like you said I can remember a lot of things long term, even have a precise memory for exact phrases people said to me years ago, although I've found in the last year or so a lot of those old memories have thankfully faded away.

I do not multi-task very well, especially if multi-tasking means talking/listening at the same time I am doing something. It's as if half my brain shuts down when I have to verbalize a thought or listen to other people speaking.

Because of this I wait patiently for other people to finish their tasks before I speak to them, but then they just start talking anyway and I am just amazed, like how can this person possibly be counting money or placing an order over the phone and talking to me at the same time? And I realize why those same people might come up and rudely interrupt me when I'm in the middle of doing something, because to them it's nothing, it's not a problem and they don't understand why it would be a problem for me. And then I have this underlying resentment because they don't get it, and no amount of explaining would ever make them understand, my brain does not work the same way theirs does.