University Of Tasmania
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Prospective memory in the red zone: cognitive control and capacity sharing in a complex, multi-stimulus task

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 06:55 authored by Strickland, L, Elliott, D, Wilson, MD, Loft, S, Neal, A, Heathcote, A
Remembering to perform a planned action upon encountering a future event requires event-based Prospective Memory (PM). PM is required in many human factors settings in which operators must process a great deal of complex, uncertain information from an interface. We study event-based PM in such an environment. Our task, which previous research has found is very demanding (Palada, Neal, Tay, & Heathcote, 2018), requires monitoring ships as they cross the ocean on a display. We applied the Prospective Memory Decision Control Model (Strickland, Loft, Remington, & Heathcote, 2018) to understand the cognitive mechanisms that underlie PM performance in such a demanding environment. We found evidence of capacity sharing between monitoring for PM items and performing the ongoing surveillance task, whereas studies of PM in simpler paradigms have not (e.g., Strickland et al., 2018). We also found that participants applied proactive and reactive control (Braver, 2012) to adapt to the demanding task environment. Our findings illustrate the value of human factors simulations to study capacity sharing between competing task processes. They also illustrate the value of cognitive models to illuminate the processes underlying adaptive behavior in complex environments.


Publication title

Journal of Experimental Psychology










School of Psychological Sciences


Amer Psychological Assoc

Place of publication

750 First St Ne, Washington, USA, Dc, 20002-4242

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Copyright 2019 American Psychological Association. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the final, authoritative version of the article. Please do not copy or cite without authors permission. The final article will be available, upon publication at

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in psychology