Implementation intentions and facilitation of prospective memory

Forming detailed implementation intentions for a future behavior can increase the probability that the behavior is actually completed. The authors investigated whether this intention effect could be used to improve prospective memory in 111 older adults (mean age 71 yrs). As expected, participants who formed an implementation intention were more than twice as likely to self-initiate the intended behavior (writing down the day of the week on every sheet of paper received during the experiment) compared with participants who either were merely instructed to do so or actively rehearsed the instruction. Forming an implementation intention, however, did not improve performance on a task that required a response to salient cues. The authors conclude that detailed implementation intentions facilitate prospective memory on tasks that lack salient cues and require self-initiation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)