Forgetting of Intentions in Demanding Situations is Rapid

Department of Psychology, Furman University, Greenville, SC 29613, USA.
Journal of Experimental Psychology Applied (Impact Factor: 1.75). 09/2003; 9(3):147-62. DOI: 10.1037/1076-898X.9.3.147
Source: PubMed


Demanding work settings often require the deferral of intended actions. In 3 experiments, participants were to withhold a response until they encountered a task change (which occurred 5, 15, or 40 sec later). To approximate highly demanding settings, the experimenters sometimes divided attention during the delay period. During some of the delays the experimenters interrupted the participants with an additional task (Experiment 1). Demanding conditions as well as interruptions revealed rapid forgetting of intentions at levels that would be considered significant in applied settings. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that this rapid forgetting was not reduced by strategic rehearsal and implementation intention strategies. The results suggest that maintaining intentions over brief delays is not a trivial task for the human cognitive system.

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Available from: Gilles O Einstein, Oct 10, 2015
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    • "Future research should better classify monitoring strategies using RT distribution estimates at the participant level and relate these profiles to individual-difference variables and ultimate PM performance. Theoretically, monitoring for event-based PM cues has been described as either continuously active from trial to trial (Guynn, 2003) or transiently occurring whenever the intention rarely comes to mind (Einstein et al., 2003). The results from the present study indicate that participants may be capable of using both continuous and transient strategies when monitoring for event-based cues. "
    B. Hunter Ball · Gene A. Brewer · Shayne Loft · Vanessa Bowden
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    • "ete incidences of behaviour . We cannot therefore investigate the extent to which each of these instances was habitual or reasoned ( e . g . Sniehotta 2009 ) . The intention measure also assessed a global intention towards behaviour over the coming two weeks , but intentions can fluctuate over time and may not be remembered at the time of action ( Einstein et al . 2003 ) . These reflect crucial limitations of the data collection and analysis methods that dominate the habit field ( Gardner 2015a ) ; the effect of habits and intentions on the action of an individual on discrete occasions cannot be reliably estimated based on data aggregated across individuals and instances ( e . g . Jaccard 2012 ) . It "
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    ABSTRACT: Habit is defined as a process whereby an impulse towards behaviour is automatically initiated upon encountering a setting in which the behaviour has been performed in the past. A central tenet of habit theory is that habit overrides intentional tendencies in directing behaviour, such that as habit strength increases, intention becomes less predictive of behaviour. Yet, evidence of this effect has been methodologically limited by modelling the impact of positively-correlated habits and intentions. This study sought to test the effect of habits for unhealthy snacking on the relationship between intentions to avoid unhealthy snacks and snack intake. Methods were chosen to match those used in studies that have shown habit-intention interactions. 239 adults completed valid and reliable measures of habitual snacking and intention to avoid snacking at baseline, and a self-report measure of snack intake two weeks later. Data were analysed using multiple regression. While both habit and intention independently predicted snack intake, no interaction between habit and intention was found. No support was found for the expected moderating impact of habit on the intention-behaviour relationship, indicating that individuals with intentions can act on those intentions despite having habits. Previous evidence of a habit-intention interaction effect may be unreliable. A growing literature indicates that habitual tendencies can be inhibited, albeit with difficulty. Habits and intentions may vary in the influence they exert over discrete behaviour instances. While the aggregation of behaviours across instances and individuals used in our study reflects the dominant methodology in habit research, it precludes examination of effects of in-situ habits and intentions. More sophisticated data collection and analysis methods may be needed to better understand potential habit-intention interactions.
    03/2015; 3(1):8. DOI:10.1186/s40359-015-0065-4
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    • "Dodhia and Dismukes argue that these failures may be due to new attentional demands that prevent encoding a sort of restore point for the interrupted task or because we do not pause for a moment to check the status of the interrupted task. Previous research on delayed-execute prospective memory and interruptions has examined performance under conditions that return participants to the interrupted task (Einstein et al., 2003). Such an experimental task, however, might reflect a best-case scenario associated with interruptions at the cost of ecological validity. "
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    ABSTRACT: We conducted three experiments to examine the dynamics of a delayed-execute prospective memory task involving task interruptions. In the delayed-execute paradigm, participants must delay a response until some future condition is met. After an intention was formed to a salient cue, an interruption reduced prospective memory relative to a no-interruption condition. Prospective memory for cues encountered during an interrupting task was worse than for cues occurring before an interruption, but the location of the cue in either the ongoing task or the interruption did not affect prospective memory. Importantly, reinstating the prevailing context after the interruption alleviated the negative influence of the interruption. Providing participants with information about the future context for making the delayed-execute response also alleviated some of these deficits presumably because participants could encode more specific features of the performance context. These results highlight the potential importance of contextual associations and reminders in completing everyday intentions successfully. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Applied Cognitive Psychology 02/2014; 28(1). DOI:10.1002/acp.2960 · 1.67 Impact Factor
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