An Exploration of Habitual Prospective Memory and its Implications for Individuals with Acquired Brain Injuries
Prospective memory refers to the ability to form and carry out an intention. Prospective memory can be further divided into the subcategories of episodic and habitual prospective memory, which differ in their task demands and electrophysiological components. The focus of the present study is on habitual prospective memory, which is the ability to routinize and consistently fulfill intentions that occur repeatedly. This skill is especially useful for populations with impaired executive functioning and/or memory deficits, such as those with acquired brain injuries. The purpose of this study is to analyze the performance of an undergraduate population on a habitual prospective memory task in order to create a baseline model for comparison with a clinical population. Evidence of habitization to the prospective memory component of the task was discovered, as demonstrated by speeded ongoing-task response times and reduced interference to prospective memory cues. Ongoing task accuracy and prospective memory cue detection were very high, while commission errors were very few, demonstrating ease of the task for neurotypical populations. We speculate that people with acquired brain injuries will not show as significant of a quickening of response times, nor such accurate performance on prospective memory cue trials or the commission error phase.