Advertisement

Memory & Cognition

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 47–62 | Cite as

Hey buddy, why don’t we take it outside: An experience sampling study of prospective memory

  • Francis T. AndersonEmail author
  • Mark A. McDaniel
Article

Abstract

Relatively little research has focused on how prospective memory (PM) operates outside of the laboratory, partially due to the methodological problems presented by naturalistic memory research in general and by the unique challenges of PM in particular. Experience sampling methods (ESM) offer a fruitful avenue for this type of research, as recent work from Gardner and Ascoli (Psychology and Aging, 30, 209-219, 2015) has shown. They found that people thought about PM around 15% of the time, and that future thinking was more common than past thinking. In two studies, we replicated our own findings and those reported by Gardner and Ascoli. To summarize, people think about the future more often than the past (30% compared to 13%), and PM occupies our thoughts approximately 13–15% of the time, supporting claims made by some researchers that our episodic memory systems are forward-looking (Klein in Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2, 222-234, 2013). Of those PM thoughts, participants reported that 61% were internally cued, rather than externally triggered. Through the use of multi-level modeling, we additionally found that PM thoughts were more likely when the respondant was alone than with people, and earlier in the day. Finally, we found that participants higher in neuroticism were more likely to report thinking of PM, and that this was driven entirely by the anxiety facet. Most generally, we hope to have demonstrated the value of ESM to help researchers investigate and understand naturalistic PM.

Keywords

Prospective memory Experience sampling ESM Momentary thoughts Future thoughts 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank our research assistant Xavier Bravo for assistance collecting data, Gil Einstein for brainstorming discussions, and help with statistical analyses from Josh Jackson and his lab (specifically, Leah Schultz and Emorie Beck) and Mike Strube.

Funding

The lead author (Francis Anderson) was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, grant DGE-1745038.

References

  1. Anderson, F. T., McDaniel, M. A., & Einstein, G. O. (2017). Remembering to remember: An examination of the cognitive processes underlying prospective memory. In J. H. Byrne (Ed.). Learning and memory: A comprehensive reference 2E (pp. 451-463). Oxford, UK: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arana, J. M., Meilan, J. J., & Perez, E. (2008). The effect of personality variables in the prediction of the execution of different prospective memory tasks in the laboratory. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 49, 403-411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baird, B., Smallwood, J., Fishman, D. J., Mrazek, M. D., & Schooler, J. W. (2013). Unnoticed intrusions: Dissociations of meta-consciousness in thought suppression. Consciousness and Cognition, 22, 1003-1012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baird, B., Smallwood, J., & Schooler, J. W. (2011). Back to the future: Autobiographical planning and the functionality of mind-wandering. Consciousness and Cognition, 20, 1604-1611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bates, D., Maechler, M., Bolker, B., & Walker, S. (2015). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using Eigen and S4. R package version 1.1-9. http://CRAN.R-project.org/package=lme4 .
  6. Bolger, N., & Laurenceau, J. P. (2013). Intensive longitudinal methods: An introduction to diary and experience sampling research. New York, NY: Guilford.Google Scholar
  7. Callender, A. A., Franco-Watkins, A. M., & Roberts, A. S. (2016). Improving metacognition in the classroom through instruction, training, and feedback. Metacognition and Learning, 11, 215-235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cameron, P. (1972). The generation gap: Time orientation. The Gerontologist, 12, 117-119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crovitz, H. F., & Daniel, W. F. (1984). Measurements of everyday memory: Toward the prevention of forgetting. Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 22, 413-414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cuttler, C., & Graf, P. (2007). Personality predicts prospective memory task performance: An adult lifespan study. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 48, 215-231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. D'Argembeau, A., Renaud, O., & Van der Linden, M. (2011). Frequency, characteristics and functions of future-oriented thoughts in daily life. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25, 96-103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. De Brigard, F. (2014). Is memory for remembering? Recollection as a form of episodic hypothetical thinking. Synthese, 191, 155-185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M. A. (1990). Normal aging and prospective memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 16, 717.Google Scholar
  14. Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M. A. (1996). Retrieval processes in prospective memory: Theoretical approaches and some new empirical findings. Prospective memory: Theory and applications, 115-141.Google Scholar
  15. Einstein, G. O., McDaniel, M. A., Thomas, R., Mayfield, S., Shank, H., Morrisette, N., & Breneiser, J. (2005). Multiple processes in prospective memory retrieval: Factors determining monitoring versus spontaneous retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 134, 327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ellis, J. A., & Nimmo-Smith, I. (1993). Recollecting naturally-occurring intentions: A study of cognitive and affective factors. Memory, 1, 107-126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gardner, R. S., & Ascoli, G. A. (2015). The natural frequency of human prospective memory increases with age. Psychology and Aging, 30, 209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hosmer Jr., D.W., Lemeshow, S. and Sturdivant, R.X. (2013) Applied logistic regression. 3rd edition, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Irish, M., & Piguet, O. (2013). The pivotal role of semantic memory in remembering the past and imagining the future. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klein, S. B. (2013). The temporal orientation of memory: It's time for a change of direction. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition, 2, 222-234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kliegel, M., & Martin, M. (2003). Prospective memory research: Why is it relevant? International Journal of Psychology, 38, 193-194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kliegel, M., Martin, M., McDaniel, M., & Einstein, G. (2004). Importance effects on performance in event-based prospective memory tasks. Memory, 12, 553-561.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Klinger, E., & Cox, W. M. (1987). Dimensions of thought flow in everyday life. Imagination, Cognition and Personality, 7, 105-128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kvavilashvili, L., & Fisher, L. (2007). Is time-based prospective remembering mediated by self-initiated rehearsals? Role of incidental cues, ongoing activity, age, and motivation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136, 112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Leirer, V. O., Tanke, E. D., & Morrow, D. G. (1994). Time of day and naturalistic prospective memory. Experimental Aging Research, 20, 127-134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marsh, R. L., Hicks, J. L., & Cook, G. I. (2006). Task interference from prospective memories covaries with contextual associations of fulfilling them. Memory & Cognition, 34, 1037-1045.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Marsh, R. L., Hicks, J. L., & Landau, J. D. (1998). An investigation of everyday prospective memory. Memory & Cognition, 26, 633-643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McDaniel, M. A., Guynn, M. J., Einstein, G. O., & Breneiser, J. (2004). Cue-focused and reflexive-associative processes in prospective memory retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 30, 605-614.Google Scholar
  29. Medea, B., Karapanagiotidis, T., Konishi, M., Ottaviani, C., Margulies, D., Bernasconi, A., ... Smallwood, J. (2016). How do we decide what to do? Resting-state connectivity patterns and components of self-generated thought linked to the development of more concrete personal goals. Experimental Brain Research, 1-13.Google Scholar
  30. Nairne, J. S. (2010). Adaptive memory: Evolutionary constraints on remembering. In B. H. Ross (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Vol. 53. The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (pp. 1-32). San Diego, CA, US: Elsevier Academic Press.Google Scholar
  31. Nelson, T. O., & Dunlosky, J. (1991). When people's judgments of learning (JOLs) are extremely accurate at predicting subsequent recall: The “delayed-JOL effect”. Psychological Science, 2, 267-271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Pearman, A., & Storandt, M. (2005). Self-discipline and self-consciousness predict subjective memory in older adults. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 60, 153-157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Perkins, A. M., Arnone, D., Smallwood, J., & Mobbs, D. (2015). Thinking too much: Self-generated thought as the engine of neuroticism. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19, 492-498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Plimpton, B., Patel, P., & Kvavilashvili, L. (2015). Role of triggers and dysphoria in mind-wandering about past, present and future: A laboratory study. Consciousness and Cognition, 33, 261-276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Poerio, G. L., Sormaz, M., Wang, H. T., Margulies, D., Jefferies, E., & Smallwood, J. (2017). The role of the default mode network in component processes underlying the wandering mind. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 12, 1047-1062.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rawson, K. A., & Dunlosky, J. (2007). Improving students’ self-evaluation of learning for key concepts in textbook materials. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19, 559-579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rude, S. S., Hertel, P. T., Jarrold, W., Covich, J., & Hedlund, S. (1999). Depression-related impairments in prospective memory. Cognition & Emotion, 13, 267-276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Salthouse, T. A., Berish, D. E., & Siedlecki, K. L. (2004). Construct validity and age sensitivity of prospective memory. Memory & Cognition, 32, 1133-1148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schacter, D. L., Addis, D. R., & Buckner, R. L. (2008). Episodic simulation of future events. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1124, 39-60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Scollon, C. N., Prieto, C. K., & Diener, E. (2009). Experience sampling: promises and pitfalls, strength and weaknesses. In Diener E. (Eds.) Assessing well-being. Social indicators research series (pp. 157-180). Springer, Dordrecht.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Scullin, M. K., McDaniel, M. A., Shelton, J. T. (2013). The dynamic multiprocess framework: Evidence from prospective memory with contextual variability. Cognitive Psychology, 67, 55-71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sellen, A. J., Louie, G., Harris, J. E., & Wilkins, A. J. (1997). What brings intentions to mind? An in situ study of prospective memory. Memory, 5, 483-507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smallwood, J., Nind, L., & O’Connor, R. C. (2009). When is your head at? An exploration of the factors associated with the temporal focus of the wandering mind. Consciousness and Cognition, 18, 118-125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smallwood, J., & Schooler, J. W. (2006). The restless mind. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Smallwood, J., Schooler, J. W., Turk, D. J., Cunningham, S. J., Burns, P., & Macrae, C. N. (2011). Self-reflection and the temporal focus of the wandering mind. Consciousness and Cognition, 20, 1120-1126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith, R. E., Hunt, R. R., & Murray, A. E. (2017). Prospective memory in context: Moving through a familiar space. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43, 189.Google Scholar
  47. Smith, R. E., Persyn, D., & Butler, P. (2015). Prospective memory, personality, and working memory. Zeitschrift für Psychologie.Google Scholar
  48. Song, X., & Wang, X. (2012). Mind wandering in Chinese daily lives–an experience sampling study. PloS one, 7, e44423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). The next Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 113, 117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Stawarczyk, D., Cassol, H., & D'Argembeau, A. (2013). Phenomenology of future-oriented mind-wandering episodes. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 425.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Stawarczyk, D., Majerus, S., Maj, M., Van der Linden, M., & D'Argembeau, A. (2011). Mind-wandering: Phenomenology and function as assessed with a novel experience sampling method. Acta Psychologica, 136, 370-381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Szpunar, K. K. (2010). Episodic future thought: An emerging concept. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 5, 142-162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Szpunar, K. K., Spreng, R. N., & Schacter, D. L. (2014). A taxonomy of prospection: Introducing an organizational framework for future-oriented cognition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 18414-18421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tulving, E. (2002). Chronesthesia: Conscious awareness of subjective time. In Donald T. Stuss & Robert T. Knight (Eds.), Principles of frontal lobe function (pp. 311-325). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tulving, E. (2005). Episodic memory and autonoesis: Uniquely human? In H. S. Terrace & J. Metcalfe (Eds.), The missing link in cognition: Origins of self-reflective consciousness (pp. 3-56). New York, NY, US: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Uttl, B., White, C. A., Wong Gonzalez, D., McDouall, J., & Leonard, C. A. (2013). Prospective memory, personality, and individual differences. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Winograd, E. (1988). Some observations on prospective remembering. In M. M. Gruneberg, P. E. Morris, R. N. Sykes, M. M. Gruneberg, P. E. Morris, R. N. Sykes (Eds.) , Practical aspects of memory: Current research and issues, Vol. 1: Memory in everyday life (pp. 348-353). Oxford, England: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations