The present review draws attention to the importance of working memory, not just for cognitive development, but also for language-related reading skills. The classical work of Patricia Goldman-Rakic drew attention to the advent of language in human development in allowing the efficient use of symbolic ‘goals’ to be held in working memory throughout the processes of goal achievement (sometimes over long periods of time). The role of a switching mechanism between cognitive, language and default circuits allows the recruitment of salient emotional and/or memory information during the process of goal completion. When these systems malfunction, the often-described comorbidities between conditions such as ADHD, language and learning disability, and behavior problems may be observed. At a developmental level, the capacity for symbolic representation in working memory is likely to be important for early orthographic and later comprehension in reading ability. More recent work has drawn attention to a specific role for selective cerebellar working memory selective areas such as lobules V11b/V111a in supporting parallel cortico-cerebellar visual working memory networks, a new specific role for cerebellar/cortical connections.
Part of the book: Selected Topics in Child and Adolescent Mental Health