Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This study examined attentional control and executive function (EF) in relation to canceled intentions in two experiments. After an intention is canceled, a commission error occurs when one continues to actively fulfill the intention in response to a prospective memory (PM) cue. Aftereffects are slower response times to inactive PM cues when encountered in ongoing processing. Attentional control was indexed by working memory capacity (WMC) and EF was indexed by three measures of inhibition. In prior canceled intention PM research, attentional control and inhibition have not been extensively studied. However, two major methodological factors in PM research could implicate attentional control and inhibition – focality for the former (the degree of similarity between the ongoing and PM tasks) and response type (requiring one or two responses when presented with a PM cue) for the latter construct. Experiment 1 found those with better inhibitory control to make fewer commission errors. Response type moderated the relationship between WMC and 2nd block focal aftereffects because of a negative relationship with a dual-task response type, but a positive relationship with a task switch response type. In Experiment 2, inhibition did not predict commission errors but negatively predicted aftereffects – those with better inhibitory control had smaller aftereffects. Separate hierarchical regression analyses were conducted for those that made commission errors and those that made no commission errors. WMC was found to negatively predict aftereffects in the commission error group and inhibition was found to negatively predict aftereffects in the no commission error group. Overall, inhibitory and attentional control were found to relate to both commission errors and aftereffects, thus future research should further explore how these individual differences may predict how PM intentions are deactivated.



Committee Chair

Hicks, Jason