Newsweek: Around the world in six ideas

My research on Working Memory-the conscious processing of information--was featured in Newsweek. Here it is:

“Working memory is our ability to remember and manage information,” says psychologist Tracy Packiam Alloway at the University of North Florida. It’s about the conscious processing of information, not just accumulation. One simple example: when someone gives you directions and you repeat them to yourself, that’s not working memory. When you apply that information while driving to your destination, it is. And whether we’re educating our children or trying to hold on to our mental faculties as we age, Alloway says improving working memory is key. The author of numerous scholarly studies—and of Training Your Brain for Dummies—Alloway says tests for working memory are more reliable indicators of potential success in school than IQ tests, which often have built-in cultural biases. When privileged children are tested alongside those from less privileged backgrounds, results show “students from deprived backgrounds have the same ability to succeed.” That’s the good news. Less encouraging is evidence that children with less working memory who fall behind in kindergarten may continue to fall behind for the rest of their lives. In those cases, the key is recognizing the problem early. Specific mental exercises, nutrition, lifestyle choices—all can play a role improving working memory.