Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Prospective Memory

  • David Ho Keung ShumEmail author
  • Jennifer Fleming
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1144


Realization of delayed intentions; Remembering to remember


Prospective memory (PM) refers to a person’s ability to remember to carry out intended actions in the future. This is in contrast to retrospective memory, the ability to recall or recognize previously learned materials. It is considered by some as an oxymoron because “prospective” and “memory” are combined to form a construct. Examples of PM include remembering to turn up for a health appointment and remembering to pay a bill.

Historical Background

The study of PM can be traced back to the everyday memory branch of memory research (the other branch is experimental memory). Although a number of pioneers of psychology (e.g., Freud 1901) have raised the idea of remembering to carry out intentions, PM research has been overshadowed by experimental psychologists who focused on the study of retrospective memory. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the study of PM was sparked by interest in everyday memory problems...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith University, School of Psychology, Mt Gravatt Campus Griffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.School of Health and Rehabilitation SciencesThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia