Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Memory for Intentions

  • David Ho Keung ShumEmail author
  • Jennifer Fleming
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1135


Prospective memory; Realization of delayed intentions; Remembering to remember


Memory for intentions is defined as the ability to remember to carry out an intended action(s) in the future. Remembering to pay a bill before its due date or remembering to buy a loaf of bread on the way home are examples of this type of memory. In contrast, the ability to recall or recognize information learned in the past (e.g., recalling the content of a movie seen the week before or recognizing the answer of a multiple choice question based on what was learned the night before) is referred to as retrospective memory. To remember to carry out an intended action(s), individuals need to remember that they have to do something (the prospective component of the intention), as well as what they are supposed to do (the retrospective component of the intention).

Historical Background

The ability to remember intentions and the distinction between important and unimportant intentions were...

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References and Readings

  1. Brandimonte, M., Einstein, G. O., & McDaniel, M. A. (1996). Prospective memory: Theory and applications. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  2. Carlesimo, G. A., & Costa, A. (2011). An introduction to the special issue on the neuropsychology of prospective memory. Neuropsychologia, 49, 2143–2146.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Freud, S. (1901). The psychopathology of everyday life. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  4. Kliegel, M., McDaniel, M. A., & Einstein, G. O. (2008). Prospective memory: Cognitive, neuroscience, developmental, and applied perspectives. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Loftus, E. F. (1971). Memory for intentions: The effect of presence of a cue and interpolated activity. Psychonomic Science, 23, 315–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. McDaniel, M. A., & Einstein, G. O. (2007). Prospective memory: An overview and synthesis of an emerging field. Los Angeles: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith University, School of PsychologyMt Gravatt Campus Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia