The current study examined the impact of length and difficulty of the delay task on young adult’s event-based prospective memory (PM). Participants engaged in either a short (2.5 min) or a long (15 min) delay that was filled with either a simple item categorization task or a difficult cognitive task. They also completed a questionnaire on whether they thought about the PM intention during the delay period and how often they thought about it. Results revealed that participants’ PM was better after a difficult delay task compared to an easy delay task. Participants thought about the PM intention more often during the difficult delay task than during the easy delay task. PM performance was positively related to participants’ reports of how many times they thought about their intentions. The important role of delay task difficulty in allowing or preventing individuals from refreshing their future intentions is discussed.
Preparation of the manuscript was partially funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada Discovery Grant (RGPIN-2015-03774) and Swiss Government Scholarship to CEVM. MK acknowledges funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). The authors wish to thank Chirine Ajram, Joelle Barthassat, Katelyn Brausewetter, Riley Brennan, Malik Djela, Alison O’Connor, and Delphine Paumier for their assistance with data collection.
This study was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (Grant Number: RGPIN-2015-03774 to Caitlin Mahy).
- prospective memory
- delay task difficulty
- delay length