Prospective memory is defined as the ability to remember to carry out intended actions in the future (Brandimonte, Einstein, & McDaniel, 1996; Kerns, 2000).
It is remembering to remember, and it is important in everyday life.
Here are some examples of prospective memory:-
The above are examples of event-based prospective memory. Time-based prospective memory is a more complex cognitive process because the instruction or intention is to do something at, or by, a certain time in the future and unless we create an alarm there is often no stimulus to remind us. For example:-
Prospective memory is made easier when we are interested in what we need to do, when it matters to us, and when we don’t have too many things to remember at any one time.
Prospective memory develops during childhood and adolescence through to our mid-twenties, but during the teenage years other factors come into play which make it less reliable in certain circumstances. Teenagers need to become increasingly independent in preparation for leaving home and prospective memory plays an important role in helping them achieve this goal. They remember to bring homework home, and to get it done by a certain time. They offer to help a friend at the end of the school day, and they remember to show up. However, when it comes to event-based prospective memory there are some circumstances which make it less reliable.
Imagine this scenario:
You are having a relaxed family dinner at home with your child. The subject of alcohol and drugs comes up, so you ask what they already know, and they reel off an impressive list of facts and statistics. You discuss their attitude to alcohol and drugs and learn that they are strongly anti-drug use. You discuss their intention towards alcohol and once again, they are adamant that they will never take drugs of any sort. You discuss how they would get out of a situation if someone was pressing them to take alcohol or drugs, and you are impressed that they have a realistic plan. They are serious, they seem to have thought things through, and you feel confident that they will be able to stick to their values.
Three days later they are off to a party. Within two hours of dropping them off you get a phone call asking you to collect your child because he/she is drunk, and the host does not want to be responsible for them. You are shocked and puzzled. How did all those good intentions go wrong so quickly?
Well, it is like this. The original discussion took place in a “cool” environment where rational thinking is easy because the Pre-Frontal Cortex, which is the executive functioning part of the brain, was in the driving seat. If they had been in another cool environment three days later such as your friend’s kitchen with other adults around, they would have refused the alcohol.
The party, on the other hand, is a “hot” environment where there is potential for experimentation and excitement along with peer pressure and a fear of missing out. The limbic (emotional) and striatum (reward) parts of the brain are activated which interferes with prospective memory. In the “hot” zone good intentions are not always enough to stop impulsive behaviour.
This is normal adolescent behaviour but there are things we can do to prevent lapses of prospective memory: –
Keep up to date on our latest insights, guidance and tips
While many families will be looking forward to their first holiday abroad in three years, parents who are recently separated or divorced might be feeling anxious about holidaying as a single parent. Parents who are divorced or separated must take certain steps to ensure that their trip is in line with the law. Annabel Andreou shares her advice for recently separated parents and carers wishing to take their child on holiday.
School is done, but some of us are still working, and the prospect of six weeks trying to entertain your offspring all summer may already be causing you nightmares. We share our tips on how to encourage your teen to balance their screen time and use their time online for good.
We are delighted to share this blog written by Katrina Judge from Young Climate Warriors on how to counter eco-anxiety and support your child/ren. This resource is also available in The Wellbeing Hub for parents, pupils and staff.
To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, we thought we’d share this blog written by Clare Nicholas on negative thought patterns. Clare shares her advice on how to manage negative thought patterns, practise self-care, and notice your positive attributes. This is a great one to share with your child/pupils.
It is hard living with ME/CFS, patients feel really unwell and miss out on day-to-day life because they simply don’t have the energy to participate. People with ME/CFS often have to make major lifestyle changes to manage their illness, and all of this can make them more susceptible to developing mental health issues, such as depression. Alicia discusses what ME/CFS is, and gives practical tips for parents with children with ME/CFS.
The past two years have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and none of us knows how this war will play out. Amongst children and young people anxiety levels are high, and many are feeling frightened as they grapple, perhaps for the first time, with the possibility of war in Europe, and nuclear threat. We share our top tips on how to support young people through these uncertain times.
This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week and with an estimated 1.25 million people living with an eating disorder in the UK it is helpful to know what we can do in terms of prevention and support. We discuss what an eating disorder is, how to spot the signs, and how to prevent your child from suffering with an eating disorder.
January will have been a busy time for those sitting mocks in preparation for the summer. Some will have been reassured when they received their results, while others may have felt disappointed. As parents it can be difficult to know how best to help. So, what can we do? Lizzie Mitchell, an experienced tutor and university lecturer, shares her top tips and advice for parents.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health problem which affects two in every one hundred people. It is a complex disorder which can be difficult to understand for both the sufferer and their family and friends. You often hear people joking about being a bit OCD when you see their immaculate laundry cupboard or categorised book collection, but those who suffer from OCD know it is absolutely no joke. So what is it?
As our children enter adolescence, they will start to reject things which seem childish to them, and that may include our gestures of affection. As parents we generally accept their rejection of childhood toys and interests but struggle when we are in the firing line. It is a sad day when a previously affectionate child pulls away from a hug or shuts down your expressions of love. For parents, the loss of intimacy can feel devastating, but what we sometimes fail to appreciate is that even though they are the ones doing the rejecting, they will experience a sense of loss too. In celebration of National Hugging Day, we discuss the importance of hugs for the self-esteem and wellbeing of young people.
The past twenty months have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Omicron is with us, and life has become unpredictable once more. We share our tips on how to support your children and cope with the uncertainty of life with the new Omicron variant.
We are starting to see an increase in Covid restrictions again and the cracks are showing. Parents are telling us that they are not ok and many are concerned about the mental health of their children, both young ones and teenagers. We are in a period of collective mourning with many of us grieving our loss of certainty, of social interaction, of familiar habits and routines. We want our old lives back and we want it now. We share our tips on how to support your child’s mental health during these uncertain times.
Alicia went onto the Emma-Jane Show’s podcast to discuss all things teens and mental health. This is a very open and honest conversation about recovery, resilience and Alicia’s journey to where she is today.
Following the horrific death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have been asked for advice on how to talk to children and teenagers about racism.
With young people online more than ever, those who would seek to influence, radicalise or groom them via social media and gaming will be busy. Find out how to support your child and help them stay safe.
We are working with some wonderful therapists across the country and some are offering two free, half hour emergency sessions to teenagers who might be particularly struggling.