How Do We Improve Our Working Memory?

The ability to remember and process information is called Working Memory. The usefulness of this function cannot be overemphasized because of its innumerable benefits to human success and greatness. Improving our working memory influences and enhances every aspect (school, work, relationship, etc) of human life from childhood to passing.

Currently, there is no perfect way to improve working memory, but there have been several ways that can help enhance cognitive performance in this area. The three known ways include:

  • Training the brain
  • Using cognitive enhancers to boost the function of the brain
  • Cognition improvement and Brain Stimulation

Training our brains

In recent times, the training of the brain has been suggested as one of the many effective ways to improve cognitive functions of the brain. This training is made possible by series of regular computerized tests. A good example is the so-called core training. The core training involves the repetition of demanding memory tasks, which targets different techniques involved in the consolidation and growth of the working memory.

This learning paradigm includes principles like placing encoding, minimizing automation, retrieval demands on the functional memory and guaranteeing a high cognitive capability for all participants.

More so, brain training is often focused on frequently refreshing the memory of humans together with processing-related tasks progressively. Even though it is not conclusive, some studies in the past have shown some level of post-training improvement in the cognitive function of the brain, which suggests that brain training, could have similar effects too for us in this age.

The Use of Cognitive Enhancers to improve the brain’s functionality

As strange as it may sound, some medications used to manage psychiatric disorders can help improve the working memory in healthy people. Adderall for example – a stimulant, primarily prescribed for patients suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), is used for stimulating mental performance.

The influence it has placed on the catecholamine system simply means that the functions of people who consume them will increase, leading to the improvements of the brain’s capability to process specific data stored in memory and also concentrate the attention on the prime task at hand. The side effect of these drugs, however, ranges from minor effects like Constipation, insomnia, headache, hair loss, diarrhea etc to long-term effects like heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (irregular heart rate).

Nootropics, on the other hand, are natural and synthetic compounds that are used for improving the working memory. Discovered since the 1950s, Nootropics such as Piracetam and Noopept have been found to improve the working memory by improving cognitive abilities like memory, focus, attention, motivation, creativity, reasoning, and so much more. They have been found to have beneficial effects on the human brain.

Brain cognition improvement and stimulation

The performance of the work can also be enhanced by non-invasive brain stimulation. For example, researchers have applied the transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The part functions by holding items in the working memory, the research also found that this stimulation is capable of improving the working memory; however, the results were not explicit. More significantly, the above-mentioned findings suggest that are safe and novel ways to stimulate cognition that yet to be discovered.

Case study: How does running affect our memory?

In recent times, a study revealed that how we run affects our mental performance: running without any shoes on reportedly improved the way the working memory functions in contrast to running with shoes. Basically, the major importance of the working memory in relation to the cognitive skill, simply means that the research illustrated here provided a practicable, relaxing and light-hearted way for people to boost their working memory.

This research involved 72 volunteers with ages ranging from eighteen to forty-four. The volunteers ran for about 16 minutes each time for both barefooted conditions and with shoes. The running speed was specifically at a self-selected rate comfortable for every participant and the extent and magnitude of the working memory were recorded before and after the run.

Surprisingly, there was a major increase of about 16% in the performance of the working memory in which all participants ran without wearing any shoes. In contrast, no basic changes in the working memory were seen when all the volunteers participated in the race with shoes on. Likewise, the running speed and heart rate of the participants were not seen to have any major effect on the performance of the participant’s working memory.

Whenever we run without shoes, we often try to avoid stepping on things that could harm our feet accidentally. This means we have to generally check the placement of our foot so we can place our foot properly. Thus, in order to replicate or imitate running outdoors without shoes, the participants in the research had to place their foot on objects that are flat during running. In connection with the points previously mentioned, it will be logical to conclude that the barefoot state needs more thorough demands on the working memory in light of the high tactile prerequisite of running without shoes. This will account for the benefits in the working memory gotten from the results.

There are still several challenges in this specific line of study, given that our basic working memory is definitely not processed under one part of the brain. As such, it is very crucial to recognize that studies on stimulating the working memory are still debatable as a huge part relates to whether these techniques boost intelligence or a specific set of cognitive functions.


In conclusion, there will always be concerns about the ethical issues and health surrounding the research in this field, but there is so much more to explore, considering the many benefits already shown by methods such as the use of Nootropics (like Piracetam, Noopept , and so much more), which are proven to be safe. Modern Nootropics also called “smart drugs” is one of the few safe and creative ways of improving the working memory, for maximal output and productivity in daily life.

You May Also Like: