Spontaneous Retrieval in Prospective Memory
O ur chapter, like others in this volume, focuses on episodic memory. Otherchapters have approached episodic memory as a process or system topreserve an individual’s mental record of his or her past. Here we take a broader view that episodic memory also allows people to mentally place themselves forward in time. Tulving (2004) has termed this process proscopic chronesthesia. Proscopic chronesthesia, likely unique to humans, supports forward-looking activities, the anticipation of what we will be doing in the near and long term, what we are likely to feel in anticipated events, what we hope to accomplish, and the planning activities that accompany this future oriented behavior. Closely aligned with such mental time-travel is prospective memory, which is the focus of the present chapter. Prospective memory is memory for activities that we intend to perform in the future. More specifically, prospective memory refers to remembering to perform an intended action at an appropriate moment in the future.