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Importance effects on performance in event-based prospective memory tasks

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In the present study we manipulated the importance of performing two event-based prospective memory tasks. In Experiment 1, the event-based task was assumed to rely on relatively automatic processes, whereas in Experiment 2 the event-based task was assumed to rely on a more demanding monitoring process. In contrast to the first experiment, the second experiment showed that importance had a positive effect on prospective memory performance. In addition, the occurrence of an importance effect on prospective memory performance seemed to be mainly due to the features of the prospective memory task itself, and not to the characteristics of the ongoing tasks that only influenced the size of the importance effect. The results suggest that importance instructions may improve prospective memory if the prospective task requires the strategic allocation of attentional monitoring resources.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Zurich, Switzerland 2: University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA 3: Furman University, Greenville, SC, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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