chapter  3
17 Pages

Prospective memory in context

Methods, findings, and future directions
WithRebekah E. Smith, Donald J. Skinner

This chapter begins by making a case for the fundamental importance of context in defining prospective memory (PM). It focuses on studies in which participants are provided with contextual information about when the PM task is likely to be performed. The relationship between the PM target event and context at time of retrieval defines focality. The relationship between the targets and the ongoing task items can also create discrepancies in processing fluency for the target event relative to background items, which may support PM performance. The relationship between the ongoing task and target events can create target item distinctiveness. Proximity information allows participants to judge how close they are to being able to fulfil the PM task within a block of ongoing task trials. Ongoing task performance refers to the ongoing activity on trials that do not include the PM target trials, with a focus on response time costs.