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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    • "Carayon & Gurses 2005, Holden et al. 2011, Van Bogaert et al. 2013). A further typical consequence of higher levels of workload and frequent interruptions is a construct known as forgetting of intentions (Einstein et al. 2003, Baethge & Rigotti 2013). Even under optimally designed work conditions, an increase in nursing workload is expected in the near future. "
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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. "

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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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