The cost of remembering to remember in event-based prospective memory: investigating the capacity demands of delayed intention performance

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2003 May;29(3):347-61. doi: 10.1037/0278-7393.29.3.347.


Prospective memory tasks are often accomplished during the performance of other activities. Despite the dual-task nature of prospective memory, little attention has been paid to how successful prospective memory performance affects ongoing activities. In the first 2 experiments, participants performing an embedded prospective memory task had longer response times on nonprospective memory target trials of a lexical decision task than participants performing the lexical decision task alone. In the prospective memory groups, longer lexical decision response times were associated with better prospective memory performance (Experiments 1, 2, and 3), a pattern not demonstrated with an embedded retrospective memory task (Experiment 2). The results of Experiment 3 suggest that the retrieval of a delayed intention, or the prospective component, can require capacity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aptitude
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Memory*
  • Random Allocation
  • Reaction Time
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Vocabulary