Working memory is how you hold things in mind like the directions to a new restaurant and the list of specials the waiter rattles off after you sit down. Given that working memory capacity is a strong correlate of intelligence and that its dysfunction is a major symptom in common psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism, it’s important that the field achieve a true understanding of how it works, said Mikael Lundqvist, a postdoc at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and lead author of one of the papers.
“Working memory deficits are associated with virtually every major psychiatric disorder, but if we can figure out how working memory works, we can figure out how to fix it,” added corresponding author and Picower Professor Earl Miller. “Working memory is the sketchpad of consciousness. Doesn’t everyone want to know how our conscious mind works?”
The opposing “Dual Perspectives” paper in the journal is led by Christos Constantinidis of the Wake Forest School of Medicine.