Prospective Memory

Prospective memory is a form of memory that involves remembering to perform a planned action or intention at the appropriate time. Prospective memory tasks are highly prevalent in daily life and range from relatively simple tasks to extreme life-or-death situations. Examples of simple tasks include remembering to put the toothpaste cap back on, remembering to reply to an email or remembering to return a rented movie. Examples of highly important situations include a patient remembering to take medication or a pilot remembering to perform specific safety procedures during a flight.

In contrast to prospective memory, retrospective memory involves memory of people, events and words that have been encountered in the past. Prospective memory and retrospective memory differ in the fact that retrospective memory emphasizes memory for events that have previously occurred, while prospective memory focuses on intended future events and is thus considered a form of memory for the future. Retrospective memory involves the memory of what we know, containing informational content; prospective memory focuses on when to act, without focusing on informational content. There is some evidence demonstrating the role of retrospective memory in the proper performance of prospective memory, but this role seems to be relatively small.

Read more about Prospective Memory:  History and Theoretical Perspectives, Methods of Testing Prospective Memory, Everyday Prospective Memory

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