More than half of all everyday memory problems concern the delayed execution of an intended action, e.g. forgetting to give someone a call. This type of memory task has been labelled prospective memory and interest in this rather new field of cognitive psychology is growing.
There are at least three reasons why research in prospective remembering is highly relevant.
Firstly, prospective memory is of great relevance for everyday life.
Secondly, prospective memory is of enormous clinical relevance.
Thirdly, prospective memory research is of tremendous theoretical relevance. The six research papers in this special issue are paradigmatic examples of current approaches in this new and relevant field of cognitive psychology.
Specifically, the question of to what extent is prospective memory similar to and to what extent is it different from the traditional topic of memory research is discussed.
In addressing this question, concepts of cognitive functioning in general are being advanced.
In addition, the mechanisms of neuropsychological impairments in prospective remembering as well as possible strategies of rehabilitation are investigated.
Finally, a third focus is on the life-span development of prospective remembering.
Investigating age-effects and possible underlying mechanisms, the influence of executive functioning, the specific nature of memory for intentions, and the role of motivational aspects are examined.
Overall, this special issue convenes experts from several psychological disciplines in a collaborative effort to explore why humans so frequently have difficulties actually executing intentions that have been previously formed.