Working memory temporarily stores the information you are working on. But it is not just a simple storage. The working memory enables you to create new thoughts, change them, combine them, search them, or any other function that helps you navigate your life.
By enabling these functions, working memory upholds your thinking, planning, learning, and decision-making.
The working memory model of Alan Baddeley divides the working memory into four components:
To learn, you must first understand. To understand,
If any of these processes fail, you'll get confused.
If you practice this skill, you can improve it. To set out how to improve your working memory, it is useful to know how you can measure it.
There is a difference between short-term memory capacity and working memory capacity.
A phonological loop is a kind of short-term memory storage that stores sound. A conversation, listening to music, and understanding a lecture depends on your phonological loop.
As you read, your phonological loop uses sub vocalisation (your internal voice) to translate visual information (what you read) into auditory information, which is then processed to extract meaning. If your internal voice is disrupted, you will find it hard to maintain information in your phonological loop, and your comprehension will suffer.
The visuospatial sketchpad is essential for understanding mathematical, science, technology and engineering subjects.
You can improve your visuospatial working memory. There are two broad strategies for approaching visuospatial problems.
You can use your visuospatial sketchpad to help your phonological loop and vice versa.
The idea behind chunking is to group underlying items by some sort of meaning or structure. For example, RTCTAIILFSO is easier remembered when it is regrouped to FRAC-TO-LIS-TIC.
Chunking is the secret behind mastering any subject. Chunking draws on your long-term memory resources. The more knowledge you have stored, the less information you need to process with your working memory, and the easier it will be to understand and remember your study material.
To master any subject:
Cognitive load is the effort used by the working memory to process information. The working memory capacity is limited: If it is overloaded with information, you will fail to understand.
There are three types of cognitive load:
Anxiety is a major cause of cognitive load. Instead of your working memory focusing on the task at hand, your short-term memory is filled with irrelevant information. i.e. maths is hard; I hate math; I want to give up.
From the moment we are born, we are always learning new skills. We see it in formal capacities in school or on the job, and informally, like learning from you buddy how to grill a steak.
However, learning is a skill that we can improve upon. The growing number of self-taught professionals is a testament to that.
Be very selective in the skill you're trying to masker to avoid sabotaging your success:
In school, your teachers worked out a lesson plan and made sure you were aiming in the right direction. When you're teaching yourself, you have to do it yourself.
To save the time of both of you, consider asking your mentor these questions:
To make it count, practice deliberately. Focus on specific elements and work on them until they improve.
Don't go all out, dedicating every waking moment to your new passion. Pace yourself. You will not only avoid burnout by spreading out your training, but you will also increase your performance.
Feedback is vitally important to evaluate how well you're doing and to identify areas for improvement. Faster feedback is always better.
You could follow all the advice, but if you give up after two days, you won't make progress.
We normally think of wellbeing as physical and mental health. But another way to think about our wellbeing is in terms of knowledge - known as our epistemic wellbeing.
Knowledge affects our ability to navigate the world and accomplish our goals. Epistemic wellbeing is the sense that you'll be able to know what you want and need to know for your life to proceed well. If you have access to good sources of information and understand how to get your questions answered, you have a high degree of epistemic wellbeing.
The amount of false and misleading information we're exposed to by traditional and social media could make us feel like we don't have good access to truths. The rise of conspiratorial thinking - where people are willing to believe wild theories, is another aspect that contributes to our decreased sense of epistemic wellbeing.
In trying to address the epistemic crisis, many feel unable to engage in dialogue and find alternative opportunities to do so, resulting in more extreme views.
Research suggests placing self-imposed limitations can boost creativity.
It forces your brain to come up with creative solutions to finish a project around the parameters you’ve set.
Instead of thinking of a cut-and-dry end goal to certain situations, creative people sit back and examine the problem in different ways before beginning to work.
If you find yourself stagnating by focusing on generic problems, try to re-conceptualize the problem by focusing on a more meaningful angle.
For example: Instead of thinking “What would be something cool to paint?” rather ask, “What sort of painting evokes the feeling of loneliness that we all encounter after a break-up?”
Creating “psychological” distance may be useful for breaking through a creative block.
Try to imagine your creative task as being disconnected and distant from your current position/location - this may make the problem more accessible and can encourage higher level thinking.
Daydreaming and incubation are most effective on a project you’ve already invested a lot of creative effort into.
Incorporating breaks into your work-flow can increase your chance to come up with creative solutions to problems.
Research suggests that reading/experiencing something absurd or surreal can help boost pattern recognition and creative thinking.
We are often in two very different states of mind when
Turn off your “work mode” and consume more inspiration in the form of reading, watching, and observing.
From a new study on creativity in the workplace:
Creativity increased when both positive and negative emotions were running high. Next time you’re in a strong emotional state, try to sit down and focus that energy on creating something.
Exercise can actually boost creative thinking due to its ability to get the heart pumping and put people in a positive mood.
If you’re stuck in a creative rut and want to take a break, try including exercise.
Looking at a situation that has already occurred and asking yourself, “What could have happened?” can boost creativity for short periods of time.
According to an analysis by Jeremy Dean:
There are two types of counterfactual thinking: upward and downward counterfactual thinking.
Even though counterfactual thinking can be used to motivate us to make better choices we should always keep in mind to focus on the present and the future instead of the past.
Bring certainty to the important things (and let the other things go).
The boot camp principle to get better at something id inspired by military basic training programs and it goes like this:
Go through unrelenting challenges that you are completely unprepared for, day after day, for a handful of weeks, and you'll come out strong and resilient.
Taking this approach to getting better at something means you have to get yourself on a self-imposed routine, where you do a little of your activity—writing, running, meditating —pushing the performance level daily. You gradually increase your mileage, so that your everyday target is just beyond what’s easy.
We are all apt to forget things we have learned in the past. Even memories of important events will eventually decline in accuracy.
If we want to remember things, research tells us that retrieval practice is more effective than passive review. If you have to choose how to study, actively trying to remember the facts is more effective than merely re-reading facts.
The person who uses their foreign language skills occasionally is reminded how much they've forgotten. Setting up a maintenance schedule where you practice your skills once a week may help, but few have the time to prioritize maintenance.
When you choose to specialize, remembering knowledge is less of a problem. The opposite situation is that knowledge is so well-maintained that the routines can lead you into a rut, making improvement more difficult.
It means accepting that your knowledge of old subjects will decline and that there will be a period of hard effort before they're usable at their previous level.
Relearning is an excellent strategy for lifelong learning. The problem is the pain of rebuilding confidence. You may remember a better ability than in reality, so even doing your best with the old skill will seem sub-standard.
However, if you can push through this short-term feeling of inadequacy, relearning starts to look good.
A strategy to adopt is to embrace relearning opportunities. It may mean there's a chance you'll fail, but adopting a policy of embracing opportunities will lead to better skills in the long-run.
Acting as if you have not forgotten when you choose projects might push you to do things more often (instead of thinking you need a few weeks or relearning first.) Yet, the rustiness will undoubtedly slow you down at first, and this has to be considered.
NASA is routinely dealing with problems that are as complex as they can get. Apart from having a process about measuring creativity, or a detailed checklist to take stock of every minute detail, they also have a Risk Matrix, a powerful tool that helps to identify and manage risk.
It is a diagram that provides the ‘likelihood score’ of the potential risk, when all the risks have been identified, and has a template that makes stating the risk easy.
NASA identifies any potential risk using the following variables:
The Risk Assessment has to only include facts, and not speculations or assumptions, while ensuring that the risk identification does not introduce new risks.
The two main factors that impact the level of risk:
The consequence ‘scorecard’ evaluates the likelihood of the risk and the level of impact (like loss of human life, or the impact on the main goal) to determine the severity of the risk.
Once a Risk Score is calculated based on the Risk Matrix, NASA recommends the following:
While prompted to make a decision with a given set of options, a person has the freedom to refuse to actively make a choice.
The decision-making process of the person is affected by the default choice that will be automatically selected in case the person refuses to choose.
If a person is told about the economic incentives of their selection, they are more likely to make an active choice.
If the person is told about the pros and cons of their decision, they have a logical reason to make the desired choice, as it can minimize any potential loss.
Organizations need to understand when to provide a reward to the person making the choice to promote active choice-making, or to initiate a penalty to make them provide a concrete answer.