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Processes involved in remembering future intentions: Automatic or controlled?

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Tea & cakes available in 2nd floor Seminar Room from 4pm

Remembering to do things at a particular time in the future (take medication, make phone calls, switch off appliances) has been termed Prospective Memory, and is vital for successful and independent functioning. Failure to remember can seriously disrupt everyday activities and have undesirable consequences in various settings (medical, educational, organisational) and populations (people with brain injury, older adults). Therefore, investigation of the mechanisms and processes in prospective memory is of both theoretical and practical importance. This presentation will report several studies examining the role of rehearsal and incidental reminders on event-based prospective memory. Results showed that rehearsal increases performance only if it occurs during the ongoing activity in which prospective memory cue events could potentially be encountered. Moreover, any beneficial effects of rehearsal and incidental reminders disappears if they are preceded by intensive rehearsal during a filler interval. These counterintuitive findings shed light on possible processes that mediate the successful retrieval of future intentions (automatic vs. controlled).

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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