Working Memory Capacity of ChatGPT: An Empirical Study


Working memory is a critical aspect of both human intelligence and artificial intelligence, serving as a workspace for the temporary storage and manipulation of information. In this paper, we systematically assess the working memory capacity of ChatGPT, a large language model developed by OpenAI, by examining its performance in verbal and spatial n-back tasks under various conditions. Our experiments reveal that ChatGPT has a working memory capacity limit strikingly similar to that of humans. Furthermore, we investigate the impact of different instruction strategies on ChatGPT’s performance and observe that the fundamental patterns of a capacity limit persist. From our empirical findings, we propose that n-back tasks may serve as tools for benchmarking the working memory capacity of large language models and hold potential for informing future efforts aimed at enhancing AI working memory.

AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Xingchen Wan
Xingchen Wan
Research Scientist

My research interests include large language models, Bayesian optimization, AutoML, and machine learning on graphs.