The Compensatory Role of Implementation Intentions for Young Adults with Low Working Memory Capacity

J. Thadeus Meeks, Margarida Pitães, Gene Brewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Many factors improve prospective memory performance both inside and outside of the laboratory, including the detailed planning of the situational cue and intended action (i.e., implementation intentions). In the current study, we obtained measures of working memory capacity and laboratory event-based prospective memory performance in college-aged adults. Half of our participants formed an implementation intention in the prospective memory task. Because of evidence that implementation intentions increase the encoding/retrieval efficiency of the prospective memory, it was predicted that forming an implementation intention would serve as a compensatory strategy for those with low working memory ability. Our results supported this hypothesis in that working memory capacity no longer correlated with prospective memory performance when participants employed an implementation intention encoding strategy. These findings suggest that implementation intentions may be an effective way for individuals with low working memory capacity to improve their performance in an attentionally demanding prospective memory task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-701
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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