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Volume 110 Issue 2 (May 2019), Pages i-iv, 193-460

Flexible representations in visual working memory and interactions with long‐term learning: Commentary on the special issue (pages 449-460)

This special issue of the British Journal of Psychology brings together cutting edge research on a range of topics in visual working memory (VWM). In this commentary, we attempt to summarize common themes in current VWM research exemplified in this issue. The articles include several reviews of important topics as well as empirical papers covering three main themes. The first concerns the nature of mental representations of memoranda in the commonly used delayed estimation task, where both fine‐grained and broad categorical details appear to be represented, and their susceptibility to interference. The second concerns interactions between VWM representations, both those that produce individuation of representations and those that create an overarching ensemble structure. Finally, the third main topic concerns the use of VWM during visual search and in the learning of repeated configurations in search displays. The work presented here, and other work in the field, points to a rich interplay between representations in VWM but also between VWM and information in long‐term memory. Opportunities for further investigation are highlighted throughout.

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