Divided attention interferes with fulfilling activity-based intentions

Gene Brewer, B. Hunter Ball, Justin B. Knight, Michael R. Dewitt, Richard L. Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of divided attention on activity-based prospective memory. After establishing a goal to fulfill an intention upon completion of an ongoing activity, successful completion of the intention generally suffered when attention was being devoted to an additional task (Experiment 1). Forming an implementation intention at encoding ameliorated the negative effects of divided attention (Experiment 2). The results from the present experiments demonstrate that activity-based prospective memory is susceptible to distraction and that implementing encoding strategies that enhance prospective memory performance can reduce this interference. The current work raises interesting questions about the similarities and differences between event- and activity-based prospective memories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
JournalActa psychologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011


  • Activity-based memory
  • Divided attention
  • Prospective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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