– Working Memory

Working Memory: Cognitive Training Concept #5:

Let’s look at two examples that can help to improve and expand working memory.

Example #1: Word List

Prior to beginning a focused movement, the coach will recite a list of words.

I would suggest starting with 4-6 words, i.e.,

  • Boat
  • Grapefruit
  • Car
  • Hammer
  • Apple
  • Chisel

Ask the client to recite the words back to you until they recite without errors.

Next, have the client begin some type of focused movement. During the movement, ask the client to recite the list of words.

Change cognitive focus and ask the client to perform another task during movement, i.e.,

  • Name every kitchen appliance they can think of
  • Name every body part they can think of
  • Name their favorite movies

Return to the word list and ask the client to recite it again.

Add a second (interference) word list into the mix, i.e.,

  • Highway
  • Giraffe
  • Pudding
  • Hamster
  • Canal
  • Milk

Ask the client to repeat back to you. When they recite without errors, return to the first word list, and ask them to recite.

Later in the training session, return to the word lists and have the client recite again to the best of their ability, preferably during focused movement. It is always interesting to see what we remember later in the session.

This type of training should be individualized and appropriate for each client with respect to their working memory abilities.

Example #2: Logical Memory

We saw the Anna Thompson story in part two and here it is again. It is often used for logical memory testing. The story is presented orally. Patients are asked to freely recall the story immediately after it was read and again 25-35 minutes later. (Laura B. Zahodne, 2011)

Here is the Anna Thompson story. Read this to your patient (download the Anna Thompson Story here in PDF)

Visit HERE for the Anna Thompson Scoring Criteria

“Anna Thompson of South Boston, employed as a cook in a school cafeteria, reported at the City Hall Station that she had been held up on State Street the night before and robbed of fifty-six dollars. She had four small children, the rent was due, and they had not eaten for two days. The police, touched by the woman’s story, took up a collection for her.” (Unknown, n.d.)

Now, have your patient recite the story back to you in as much detail as possible.

Next, read the story again and then have your patient begin some type of focused movement.

During focused movement, ask your patient to recite the story again in as much detail as possible. If they leave out details, that’s fine, but don’t help them.

The Anna Thompson story comes from a logical memory exam. This exam includes a specific set of tests given in a specific order with detailed instructions. A scoring system accompanies the exam. To access the entire exam and scoring system, visit the book support website.

Add vestibular and visual system activations:

Learn More Strategies to Light up the Brain HERE