Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Recent Memory

  • Elizabeth S. GromischEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1147


Working memory


Recent memory, or working memory, is the temporary storage of information that is used in managing cognitive tasks, like learning, reasoning, and comprehension.

Current Knowledge

Recent Memory Function

Recent memory is involved in the selection, initiation, and termination of information-processing functions, such as encoding, storing, and retrieving data. Recent memory is stored in the prefrontal cortex and used for immediate recall and then discarded after use. It can be measured by a memory span test, such as digit span, in which a participant repeats back a sequence of numbers. Miller (1956) proposed that the average memory span for a normal adult ranges from five to nine items.


Recent memory span can be increased through chunking, in which a group of numbers or words are linked together in a meaningful way. The proposed chunking capacity ranges from three to five, though the information itself and prior learning can influence an...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG (outside the USA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology ServiceVA ConnecticutWest HavenUSA