The role of executive processes in prospective memory tasks

Stéphanie M. van den Berg*, Henk Aarts, Cees Midden, Bas Verplanken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Prospective remembering refers to remembering and acting on behavioural intentions. Three experiments tested the hypothesis that prospective remembering requires the availability of executive processes. It was expected that this is more important when intentions are stated in categorical terms. Type of instruction (specific versus categorical), typicality of the cue in relation to the category specified, and executive load were manipulated. Results showed a general benefit of specific instructions. Furthermore, with categorical instructions, performance was better with typical cues. Although the data suggested that executive processes are responsible for the processing of cues, the load manipulation had no significant effect on the prospective memory measure. Thus, no evidence was found for the hypothesis that prospective remembering requires the availability of executive processes. It is argued that it is a matter of strategic choice whether executive processes are deployed: One does not need to monitor for cues but can choose to rely on bottom-up processes. Monitoring may be sufficient, but not necessary for successful prospective remembering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-533
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes

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