Prospective memory – remembering unattended intentions

Professor Laura Hokkanen, chair

Prospective memory can be defined as the ability to remember to perform a planned action or intention in the future. Examples of are easy to find in our everyday life; remembering to mail a letter on the way home, remembering to deliver a message to a friend, and remembering to take medicine before going to bed in the evening all require prospective memory. Prospective memory impairment has been found to be common following e.g. traumatic brain injury, and it has been suggested to have predictive power in early dementia. In routine neuropsychological assessment this form of memory is seldom examined however.

The symposium will review current knowledge on the concept of prospective memory, describing the differences between event-based and time-based prospective memory, the differences between tasks performed in laboratory and those set out in naturalistic environment, and the associations between prospective memory and other cognitive domains such as attention and executive functions. Assessment strategies are presented, including a new measure of prospective memory used in the Perinatal Adverse Events and Special Trends in Cognitive Trajectory (PLASTICITY) -project. Participants are part of a risk cohort born in 1971–1974, prospectively followed from birth, now at the age of 40. The impact of low birth-weight and other perinatal risks on prospective memory performance in adulthood will be examined in this cohort.

  1. Laura Hokkanen: Prospective memory or memories? – overview of theory and measurement
  2. Eliisa Lehto: Perinatal risks and prospective memory performance – association with cognitive domains
  3. Anett Kretschmer-Trendowicz: Effects of episodic future thinking on children’s prospective memory in typical lab-based and (rather) naturalistic task settings
  4. Anett Kretschmer-Trendowicz: How can we help individuals with Korsakoff’s syndrome to remember their intentions?