Neuroscientists and psychologists use the term working memory to describe the brain function whereby we hold and manipulate chunks of information in the mind for short periods of time. A useful analogy is to think of working memory as a kind of mental workspace or note pad. It is the ability to keep information in your mind for a short time, focus on a task, solve a problem and know what to do next. With a working memory deficit it is difficult to stay focused, plan next steps, remember instructions and finish tasks.

A good illustration of working memory in action is doing mental arithmetic. Try to multiply 17 by 43 in your head without using pencil and paper.  If at any stage of the process you are interrupted or distracted, you lose all the data and have to start again. Another example might be memorising a telephone number in your mind while you search for your cell phone to dial the number.  Another might be making sense of a long sentence that you are reading. If you forget the first part before reaching the last part, you have to start again. 

Working memory drives your ability to concentrate and not lose your train of thought. Children with ADHD are particularly vulnerable and constitute a prime population for working memory training. Studies show a deficit in working memory often leads to difficulties in reading, comprehension and maths. 

There is now extensive evidence of the relationship between working memory and learning outcomes. Although working memory has been studied for years, only recently did Swedish neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg show that it can be trained and enhanced. Previously it was thought to be fixed and immutable. 

Cogmed Working Memory Training is a coach-assisted, home-based programme that has been shown in a large number academic research paper to improve working memory. It is appropriate for all age groups.

Training takes place at your home, usually five days a week for five weeks. Each sessions usually lasts about 30 to 40 minutes. The software automatically increases task difficulty as a person's abilities improve. The programme includes weekly telephonic contact to help coach and monitor performance, which can also be viewed online.

After training, users can expect to improve their ability to concentrate, control impulsive behaviour and are better able to utilise complex reasoning skills. In the end, in the case of learners and students, better academic results can be expected especially in maths and reading. In addition, users report improved social skills and other benefits in daily life such as taking initiative, remembering things and completing tasks. Recent research also indicates it can also be useful to reduce anxiety as working memory improves.

For more details please contact Gerard Finnemore on 082 577 1803. It is very important to remember that Cogmed Working Memory Training is scientifically-validated by placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical studies published in respected professional journals. There is on-going research at several leading American and European universities. If you would like a list of published articles or see individual articles, please e-mail the practice and they can be sent to you. In addition, Cogmed has a comprehensive and informative site. Visit