You use your working memory (also called short-term memory) hundreds of times every day. When you mentally prepare a list before going to the store or think about what you want to accomplish at work, you are using your working memory. It is an area of the brain where you store bits of information you plan on using again in the near future.
For people with working memory deficits, this area in their brains is more like a loosely woven basket where items consistently slip through the cracks. You go to the store with the list in your head—and come home having forgotten most of the items. You have a plan of action in your mind at the beginning of the day—and realize that you have not accomplished, or even thought about, several items on your list by the end of the day.
A weak working memory is the reason you might resist participating in conversations — you can’t remember what you wanted to say. It could be the reason you sometimes have to reread a paragraph several times before you can move on—you are trying to commit it to memory.
Those with working memory deficits often use external sources to help them keep track of their thoughts. They have learned that their basket simply won’t keep things inside. Instead, they rely on written notes, the help of others, or have learned to “fake it” when all else fails.
This self-test is designed to determine whether you show symptoms similar to those from a working memory deficit. If you have concerns about possible working memory problems, see a health professional. An accurate diagnosis can only be made through clinical evaluation. This self-test is for personal use only.