The Role of Individual Storage Strategies in Describing Visual Working Memory Capacity
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Visual working memory is the cognitive system that temporarily stores visual information that can quickly be accessed to serve the needs of an ongoing task and it is essential for many other cognitive activities. How much information we can actively hold in mind is severely limited and why some have greater capacity than others is highly debated. Capacity varies substantially between individuals, which is partially due to the use of different storage strategies. A debate has arisen whether visual working memory capacity can best be described as a discrete limit or a continuous resource. Although studies emphasise the individual differences in performance, the models that try to describe visual working memory capacity have not incorporated leeway to account for the strategies. Here, a literature review about the two dominant models for VWM capacity is presented followed by an overview of arguments that highlight different strategies. Given the theoretical background, the discussion describes how the strategies can fit into the discrete and continuous models and moves towards a conclusion about the role of strategies in describing VWM capacity. The results of the current study provide support for taking into account the encoding strategies of individuals when constructing and analysing VWM capacity models.