Difference between working memory and short-term memory

Difference between working memory and short term memory

Difference between working memory and short-term memory

The theoretical concepts of short-term memory (STM) and working memory (WM) were used to allude to information preservation and information maintenance plus deception, respectively. Despite their conceptual differences, the terms STM and WM are not always used consistently in the literature. However, it is critical to recognize that they genuinely mean two different tasks. These two terms are commonly used in psychology and neuroscience.

How is working memory different from short-term memory?

Working Memory

Miller, Galanter, and Pribram coined the term “working memory” in 1960. Working memory is a theoretical construct that has applications in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. If working memory were a system, it would be the framework that holds transitory details and procedures that allow this information to be influenced. Working memory processes include reasoning and clarification. In addition, working memory sub-systems may contain verbal memories, visual moments, and control systems that allow modification (Baddeley, 1981).

Working memory is often used interchangeably with the term short-term memory. These two, however, are not the same. Working memory includes short-term memory. Furthermore, working memory contains controllers that enable the integration, removal and retrieval of short-term memory data. These processes are affected by time. As a result, working memory tends to deteriorate with age. Several researchers have recognized brain regions critical for working memory operations, including the frontal cortex, parietal cortex, anterior cingulate, and basal ganglia.

Short-term Memory

Short-term memory is a construct that arose from Freudian psychology’s conscious mind concepts. It is also categorized as primary memory or active memory. Short-term memory refers to knowledge saved in the mind for a couple of seconds to about 30 seconds. This is only temporary. Most data are rapidly forgotten, but if it is scripted and used by a procedure, it can start moving into the higher depths of the mind, recognized as long memory.

The capacity for short-term memory differs from person to person. In general, it can grasp up to seven components plus or minus two (5-9) plus or minus two (5-9) plus or minus two (5-9) plus or minus two (5-9) plus Short-term memory is active and easily accessible for use for a short period. STM is a component of WM (Aben, Stapert & Blokland, 2012).

The term WM became well-known due to Baddeley and Hitch’s homonymic model (1974). However, the WM model has more inherent characteristics than the STM model. The classic WM model postulated by Baddeley and Hitch (1974) can be divided into three distinct components: a central executive and two domain-specific slave structures used to preserve information (the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketch pad). In the coordination compounds WM model, these memory stores are also known as STM.

Check the following reference articles to learn more
  1. Aben, B., Stapert, S., & Blokland, A. (2012). About the distinction between working memory and short-term memory. Frontiers in Psychology, 3(2), 301.
  2. Baddeley, A. (1981). The concept of working memory: a view of its current state and probable future development. Cognition, 5(4), 502-507.
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