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Acta Psychologica Sinica    2013, Vol. 45 Issue (9) : 944-960     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00944
The Different Effects of PM Types, Motivation, and Task Sequence on Prospective Memory
HU Bin;FENG Chengzhi
(Key Research Institute of Education Ministry-Center for Chinese Urbanization Studies, Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China) (Department of Psychology, Soochow University, Suzhou 215123, China)
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Abstract  Prospective memory (PM) is the memory for actions to be performed in the future. Previous prospective memory studies often use calculation and character recognition tasks, rather than everyday life events, which may limit the implication of the result. Here we use prospective memory tasks that occur in everyday life in the “Virtual Week” paradigm, forming a board game that mimics many features of daily living, and investigate the effects of prospective memory types, motivation and task sequence on prospective memory of undergraduate students. In Experiment 1, we focused on the effects of different types of prospective memory tasks with a 2 (regular and irregular) × 2 (time-based prospective memory and event-based prospective memory) design. The experiment explored the effect of the regularity of prospective memory tasks on behavioral performance in the time-based prospective memory and event-based prospective memory. In Experiment 2, we investigated the influence of motivation (reward vs. penalty) on prospective memory performance with a 2 (regular and irregular) × 2 (time-based prospective memory and event-based prospective memory) × 3 (no motivation, reward, and penalty) design. The purpose of this experiment was to exam whether both reward and penalty could improve the accuracy of prospective memory tasks, and whether this improvement was different between regular and irregular prospective memory task. In Experiment 3, we studied the effects of task sequence on prospective memory performance with a 2 (fixed and random sequence) × 2 (time-based prospective memory and event-based prospective memory) design to exam whether the prospective memory performance would be better in fixed sequence than in random sequence. The results showed that the accuracy of regular prospective memory tasks was higher than that of irregular prospective memory tasks, even of those with motivation. Meanwhile, both reward and penalty facilitated the performance of irregular prospective memory tasks. In addition, the performance of the fixed prospective memory task sequences, which improved significantly over time, was better than that of random sequences, which remained unchanged. Finally, the performance of time-based prospective memory was better than that of event-based prospective memory, regardless of the regularity of prospective memory tasks, reward or penalty, and task sequence. In conclusion, our study uses a novel “virtual week” paradigm that involves prospective memory tasks in everyday life, and provides evidence that regular prospective memory tasks, high motivation and fix sequences can all enhance the performance of prospective memory tasks, with implication of improving prospective memory performance in real life.
Keywords prospective memory      motivation      task sequence      virtual week     
Corresponding Authors: FENG Chengzhi   
Issue Date: 25 September 2013
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HU Bin;FENG Chengzhi. The Different Effects of PM Types, Motivation, and Task Sequence on Prospective Memory[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2013, 45(9): 944-960.
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