Both monitoring and coding are base mechanisms of working memory. They are used for (metacognitive) control and coordination of cognitive processes and form the basis for more complex cognitive activities. Monitoring in working memory involves the controlled supervision of storage processes and stored representations. Storage in spatial working memory requires the coding of incoming information according to its spatial features: the location at which the stimuli were perceived and/or their spatial arrangement is stored. Spatial coding links the individual items to representations (binding) and gives them a structure. There is no “pure” representation of a visually perceived stimulus; each stimulus also has a spatial “code”.
For example, the information that a driver obtains by looking in his rear-view mirror is incorporated into the stored image of the driving environment. More complex examples include following assembly instructions or wiring diagrams, creating mind maps, or working with multiple open windows on a computer.