A research has suggested that a good working memory – the ability to remember and process information at the same time – could be the secret to a happy and successful life.
According to an article in Sydney Morning Herald, scientists have found people with a good working memory are more likely to be “optimistic and self-assured”, while those whose working memory was poor, were more likely to "brood” and be pessimistic.
Tracy Alloway, from the University of Stirling in Scotland, wanted to see if working memory had a bearing on happiness. She gave a series of psychological tests and questionnaires to1200 people, aged from their late teens to their 60s.
Described as the brain’s "Post-it note", working memory "take new information, integrating it with the facts you know, and then moving forward," she says. According to her, the average adult can remember and work with five bits of information simultaneously, whereas a five-year-old can cope with only two. However, contrary to what might be expected, the research shows that the working memory of people in their 60s is as good as that of teenagers.
So what’s the bottom line? Good working memory allows people to adapt to new situations more quickly. "I think the key issue is the idea of cognitive flexibility," Alloway says.