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Prospective memory functioning in people with and without brain injury
Groot, Y.C.T., WILSON, B.A., EVANS, J. & WATSON, P.
Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 8, 645-654
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Prospective remembering has been relatively under-investigated in neurological patients. This paper describes a group study in which the prospective memory performance of 36 brain-injured people and 28 control participants is compared. We used a new instrument, the Cambridge Behaviour Prospective Memory Test (CBPMT) to assess prospective memory. This comprises four time-based and four event-based tasks. Participants were allowed to take notes to help them remember the tasks. The relationships between CBPMT scores, scores on formal tests and subjective reports on memory, attention and executive functioning were analysed. The key findings were that (i) note-taking significantly benefited prospective memory performance, (ii) significant relationships were found between scores on the prospective memory test and scores on tests of memory and executive functions, and (iii) participants had more difficulty with the time-based than with the event-based prospective memory tasks. The results suggest that compensatory strategies improve prospective memory functioning; memory for content as well as attention and executive functioning processes are involved in prospective memory; and that time-based tasks are more difficult than event-based tasks because they place higher demands on inhibitory control mechanisms. Discussion focuses on the implications of these results for neuropsychological assessment and rehabilitation.