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Planning for success : mnemonics for prospective memory Siu, Daniel

Abstract

Prospective memory (ProM) is the ability we have for forming intentions, retaining them, and carrying them out at the appropriate time or in the appropriate context. Although a large number of external aids are available for supporting ProM (e.g., daytimers, personal digital assistants, post-it stickers), very little is known about internal aids - mnemonics - that could be used to augment ProM. The present study focused on one class of mnemonics for ProM - planning strategies. Planning strategies are activities assumed to yield a clearer specification of intentions and of way-points to their attainment, as well as a more concrete articulation of the means required for their attainment. In the present work, we explored the types of planning strategies that could be used for different kinds ProM tasks, the subject-rated frequency and likelihood of using each type of strategy, and whether training participants in the use of strategies would result in improved performance on ProM tasks. Planning strategies for time allocation, organizing task-relevant resources, and identifying and recording task-relevant information were revealed. Participants rated the strategies as effective and likely to be used for various time and event based ProM tasks. Participants who were trained in the use of task relevant planning strategies were significantly more likely to successfully execute three ProM tasks over the course of 1 week.

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