An assessment of learning rates in habitual prospective memory

Anne Vogel, Ciera Arnett, Chris Blais, Gene A. Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Most laboratory research in the field of prospective memory has focused on newly formed (episodic) intentions that are carried out in the experimental context once or only a small number of times. However, many naturalistic prospective memories are carried out many times and these types of (habitual) intentions have been studied much less in the laboratory. In the current study, our aim was to extend prior work examining habitual intentions in laboratory prospective memory paradigms. Participants formed a typical prospective memory intention and then completed an ongoing task in which the intention could be executed up to 63 times. We examined changes in performance across trials in three traditionally important prospective memory metrics: cue detection, task interference, and cue interference. Across repeated performance of the prospective memory task, we observed an increase in cue detection, elimination of task interference, and elimination of cue interference. These results provide key insights into the operation of learning mechanisms in prospective memory paradigms and promote theory development by showing that many of the resource-demanding processes that are theorized to be necessary for successful prospective memory play much less of a role when intentions are repeatedly completed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1513-1520
Number of pages8
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Automaticity
  • Habit
  • Learning
  • Prospective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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