Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (1):154-176 (2001)

Abstract
Commentators expressed a wide variety of views on whether there is a basic capacity limit of 3 to 5 chunks and, among those who believe in it, about why it occurs. In this response, I conclude that the capacity limit is real and that the concept is strengthened by additional evidence offered by a number of commentators. I consider various arguments why the limit occurs and try to organize these arguments into a conceptual framework or “metatheory” of storage capacity limits meant to be useful in future research to settle the issue. I suggest that principles of memory representation determine what parts of the representation will be most prominent but that limits of attention (or of a memory store that includes only items that have been most recently attended) determine the 3- to 5-chunk capacity limit.
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DOI 10.1017/s0140525x0161392x
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