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How does memory work in the brain?
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We store memory in our working memory

When information is received by the brain, it is stored in our working memory for a moderate time period before becoming ingrained long-term.
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The Argument

Working memory is the memory we use in day to day situations to hold the information necessary to accomplish tasks. This stage in our memory holds information briefly and allows us to utilize and manipulate information in the present moment. Information in the working memory is important or useful in the short term, but unnecessary to hold permanently. The working memory has limited capacity- our brain can only hold so much relevant information before it begins forgetting some. Higher working memory capacity has been linked to higher intelligence and problem-solving. Working memory is what allows us to remember a shopping list when going to the store or our deadlines that week. If we were to only remember those things for seconds after reading them (in the sensory memory), we would not be able to accomplish anything, while if they were in long term memory, our grocery lists would take up unnecessary space for years to come. The working memory stores information within the time period of hours to weeks.[1] Working memory is known by neuroscientists as the entry point for long term encoding. Working memory involves temporary activation of neurons, while long term memory entails physical changes or additional neurons. When information is added into the working memory, it must be rehearsed and encoded repeatedly into the long term memory or it is forgotten. The visuospatial sketchpad is a part of the working memory that stores and processes information taken in through our eyes and spatial surroundings. The articulatory-phonological loop handles information we hear, and both are controlled by a central executive system which sorts and transports all sensory information. Both parts play an important role in retrieving and utilizing information from long term memory for usage in the present situation.[2]

Counter arguments

Working memory is not the storage of information, but the manipulation of it. Working memory is characterized as actively utilizing information to accomplish tasks. On the other hand, long term and sensory memory is the storage of information. Working memory should not be qualified as a level of memory storage, because it is not simply storage, but active utilization.


[P1] To go about daily life, we must manipulate information. [P2] Information must be temporarily stored to be utilized. [P3] Temporary storage for actively used information is the working memory.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Working memory should not be considered a storage level because the information is being actively used.


This page was last edited on Saturday, 22 Aug 2020 at 10:02 UTC

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