Working memory could be described as the ability to keep information accurate during a short time-period and it is also required in order to control the capability of concentration. This ability could be trained. Not only the body must be kept in shape but also the brain must exercise in order to function accurately and to develop. Experiments on adults shows that brain gymnastics can improve the working memory and the concentration capability with up to 20 percent.
The Working memory
Torkel Klingberg, Professor at Karolinska Institutet, comments:
”We have been able to show how the working memory is plastic, and thereby can be trained, if the training takes place according to certain principles. Training of the working memory also changes the brain activity with increased activity in cerebral cortex in the lobe and cerebral cortex in the parietal. In case the learning process to the long-time memory is improved we do not know. But much implicate this, especially since the concentration ability also improves.”
Stone Age Man brain
Accordingly, the brain is elastic. Thanks for that, since human brain-size has not changed in 40 000 years, not since world of the Stone Age man. However, repetition and training of the working memory for an improved learning process is not enough. Motivation is as well required. Professor Martin Ingvar explains:
”We have an inner rewarding-system, an evaluation-system that has to acknowledge benefits and the positive effects of our actions. You can not whip somebody to knowledge.”
The student must thereby get the feeling that she gets something back. Both Professor Ingvar and Professor Klingberg distinguish great possibilities with new technology for learning and as a brain-gym-equipment. However, there are still deficits when it comes to user-friendliness. Many producers still develop platforms that totally or to partly lacks adaption to the human brain’s preconditions.
In this spirit simplifying technology for both work and leisure will have a bright future. From the other direction the market for brain gym, meaning computer-based games developed for brain-practice, is a multi-billion-market. The development will surely continue as a part of the adaption to be able to handle constantly increasing flood of information.
Part four in this series of articles will dig deeper in the field with focus on motivation and learning.
Written by LarsGoran Bostrom©
The Overflowing Brain: Information Overload and the Limits of Working Memory by Torkel Klingberg