While there are many books on retrospective memory, or remembering past events, Prospective Memory: An Overview and Synthesis of an Emerging Field is the first authored text to provide a straightforward and integrated foundation to the scientific study of memory for actions to be performed in the future. Authors Mark A. McDaniel and Gilles O. Einstein present an accessible overview and synthesis of the theoretical and empirical work in this emerging field.

Storage and Retention of Intended Actions

Storage and retention of intended actions

The suggested intention slumbers on in the person concerned until the time for its execution approaches. Then it awakes and impels him to perform the action.

—Sigmund Freud, Psychopathology of Everyday Life

There exists … an internal tension-state which presses to carry out the intention. … The state of tension arising from the act of intending need not be continuously expressed in conscious tension-experiences. As a rule, it exists over long periods of time, only in latent form.

—Kurt Lewin, “Intention, Will, and Need”

These intuitions by two influential psychologists of the last century suggest that intended actions may enjoy special memory storage status or properties. In contemporary memory terms, the idea is more specifically that intended actions ...

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