RPGs, Working Memory, Thinking Illustratively and Elaborately

by Hawke Robinson published 2018/06/08 17:20:00 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:26:03-07:00
In a TED talk by Peter Doolittle, he talked about two memory constructs, multitasking and working memory, and in this particular talk focused on Working Memory. This is something where role-playing games may support his recommendations in trying to improve how important things are remembered...




Example of someone stopping walking in order to text. Could address from multitasking perspective, or from working memory perspective. He

4 basic omponents

Store immediate xperiences.

Reach back

Mixes/process within current immediate goal (I’d like that cookie. I’d like to get into my hotel room.


Working memory capacity if ability to leverage that in ways in order to satisfy our goals.

High Working Memory Capacity.

Good story tellers.

Do well on standardized test.

High levels of writing ability.

Reason at high level.




5 words: (don’t write down), then answer 3 other questions.

tree, highway, mirror, Saturn, electrode



What is answer to 23x8.

Take out left hand, and count to ten just using one hand.

Then recite the last 5 letters of the English alphabet backwards.

Typically will be around less than half of the people can hold on to the first information (those initial 5 words).


Working memory great for conversation. So can build a narrative, and go back and forth. To problem solve, To critical think.

To evaluate, etc.

Allows going to store, and get milk, egg, and cheese.


A central issue is that working memory is:

Limited in capacity

Limited in duration

limited in …



We can remember those 4 things about 10-20 seconds, unless we do something with it (like memorize it, discuss it with someone else, etc.)


Walking from one room to another, and then forgotten why you are there.

Forgetting cars, kids, keys, etc.

ever been in conversation, and realize convo to your left is more interesting.

Until realize asked a question by the first person.



We need to process what is going on in this moment, now, not later on.


To retain need to memorize.


Need to think elaboratively, and illustratively.


Also want to use imagery. Think of things as images. Write things down as images.


Organization and support. We are “meaning making machines”. Organization helps, so we need to structure our knowledge and experience in a meaningful way.


Support. By asking people questions, or providing guiding images, suppport it, etc.


Final piece from Working Memory.

What we process we learn.

If we are not processing life, we’re not living it.


Document Actions