Investigating task interruptions in the delay-execute prospective memory task
Cook, Gabriel Isaiah
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Three experiments were conducted to examine the dynamics of a delay-execute prospective memory task. In standard event-based prospective-memory tasks, responses to environmental cues can be made immediately. In the delay-execute paradigm, responses must be withheld until some additional condition is met. After intention formation, an interruption occurring before that additional condition is met results in worse performance as compared with no interruption. In the current experiments, cues encountered during an interruption resulted in worse performance as compared with cues occurring before an interruption. Moreover, when cues were encountered in an ongoing task and before the interruption, not reinstating that prevailing context after the interruption reduced delay-execute performance. However, providing participants with information about the future context that later required a delay-execute response ameliorated some of these deficits because participants could form more specific intentions. These results highlight the potential importance that contextual associations play in successfully completing everyday intentions.