Working memory: How you keep things ‘in mind’ over the short term

When you need to remember a phone number, a shopping list or a set of instructions, you rely on what psychologists and neuroscientists refer to as working memory.

It’s the ability to hold and manipulate information in mind, over brief intervals. It’s for things that are important to you in the present moment, but not 20 years from now.

Researchers believe working memory is central to the functioning of the mind. It correlates with many more general abilities and outcomes — things like intelligence…