Function - Workbench
is the gateway to information processing and memory. Information
to which we attend enters short-term or working memory, our "workbench"
where consciousness is experienced. This "workbench" is
where we "think"--attending to external stimuli, internal
thought processes, or both--reason, problem solve, make decisions,
read, perform mathematical computations, etc. It is also where we
consciously direct memory recall and initiate responses and actions.
short-term/working memory, we encode information from the sensory
registers for transfer into long-term memory. Sub-vocalization is
part of this. (Yes, it is OK to talk to yourself--silently--otherwise,
you would not be able to think!)
working memory characteristics, important for the design of human-to-system
interfaces as well as training/learning programs, are:
- Very limited and in some models considered a "bottleneck"
in human information processing. The classic work of Miller (1956)
determined the number of units that can be processed at any one
time as 7 + 2. Subsequent studies have indicated that 5
+ 2 may apply to most of the items we wish to remember.
- About 15 to 30 seconds, however, it can be indefinite if one
continues to concentrate on, attend to, and rehearse the information
in its store.