Visuospatial Sketchpad

The visuospatial sketchpad is the component of working memory responsible for handling visual and spatial information. It temporarily stores information on how things look and allows us to manipulate images in our mind, such as when we mentally rotate a shape to see how it might appear from a different angle or when we give directions to a friend to help them navigate through a city.

The visuospatial sketchpad also allows us to recreate images either based on something we’re seeing in real time or something we’ve seen in the past. If you’re drawing a flower, for example, you use the visuospatial sketchpad to hold a picture of the flower in your mind while you reproduce it on paper. Images on our mental scratch paper fade quickly though. While creating your drawing you have to either keep looking back at an actual flower or keep retrieving an image of a flower from your long-term memory.

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