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Prospective Memory

An intention to perform a task at some future time is known as a prospective task. In everyday life individuals are often frustrated by failing to remember to perform deferred tasks at the appropriate time. In critical workplace settings such as aviation and medicine individuals typically must manage several concurrent tasks, and consequently are often forced to postpone or interrupt tasks and attempt to remember to perform the deferred tasks later. Failure to remember to perform intended tasks can have disastrous consequences in the operational world. We are studying the cognitive processes involved in forming, recall and executing intentions; by determining why these processes are vulnerable to failure we hope to develop practical countermeasures. Our research combines laboratory studies, field observations of domain experts at work, and theoretical modeling.

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