Prospective memory and aging: Forgetting intentions over short delays

Gilles O. Einstein, Mark A. McDaniel, Marisa Manzi, Bryan Cochran, Meredith Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Retrieved intentions often cannot be performed immediately and must be maintained until there is an opportunity to perform them. In 3 experiments, on seeing a target event, younger and older participants were to withhold an action until they encountered the appropriate phase of the experiment. When initial retrieval was made facile by the use of a salient retrieval cue, the age-related decrements were often dramatic, even over unfilled delay intervals as brief as 10 s (Experiments 1 and 2). When initial retrieval was difficult, older adults showed no forgetting over the retention interval (Experiment 3). Several theoretical perspectives were offered as explanations for the age differences observed with salient retrieval cues, including those that focus on age differences in metamemory, the degree to which plans are reformulated, and the ability to nonstrategically maintain current concerns in working memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-683
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000


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