The impact of absolute importance on prospective memory: Instructions matter

Walter, Stefan Markus; Meier, Beat (12 September 2013). The impact of absolute importance on prospective memory: Instructions matter (Unpublished). In: 13. Kongress der Schweiz. Gesellschaft für Psychologie: Crossing Borders. Basel, Schweiz. 11.-12.09.2013.

Prospective memory (ProM) is the ability to remember and carry out a planned intention in the future. ProM performance can be improved by instructing participants to prioritize the ProM task over the ongoing task. However, the improvement of ProM performance by emphasizing the relative importance typically restricted to situations in which the overlap between processing requirements of the ProM task and the ongoing task is low. Thus, additional processing resources are allocated to the ProM task and consequently, a cost emerges for the ongoing task. The aim of the present study was to further investigate this relationship. Participants were asked to respond to either semantic or perceptual ProM cues, which were embedded in a complex ongoing short term memory task. We manipulated absolute rather than relative importance by emphasizing the importance of the ProM task to half of the participants (i.e., without instructing them to prioritize it over the ongoing task). The results revealed that importance boosted ProM performance independent of the processing overlap between the ProM task and the ongoing task. Moreover, no additional cost was associated with absolute importance. These results challenge the view that importance always enhances the allocation of resources to the ProM task.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology

UniBE Contributor:

Walter, Stefan Markus and Meier, Beat


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Anna Maria Ruprecht Künzli

Date Deposited:

27 Jun 2014 15:14

Last Modified:

27 Jun 2014 15:14


Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback