The effect of implementation intention on prospective memory: A systematic and meta-analytic review

X.-J. Chen, Y. Wang, L.-L. Liu, J.-F. Cui, M.-Y. Gan, Ho Keung David Shum, R.C.K. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationLiterature reviewAcademic researchpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.Prospective memory (PM) refers to remembering to perform a planned action at a future time. Implementation intention is an encoding method in the form of "if situation Y is encountered, then I will initiate the goal-directed behavior X". It has been applied to improve PM performances. The present study conducted a systematic and meta-analytic review on the effect and mechanism of implementation intention on PM. In the meta-analysis, 36 comparisons were included. The results showed that for healthy young adults, the overall effect of implementation intention in improving PM performances was significant with a medium effect size (d=0.445). The combined verbal and imagery form of implementation intention had a relatively larger effect size (d=0.590). For older adults, implementation intention had a medium to large effect size on their PM performances (d=0.680). As for the mechanism, implementation intention seemed to reduce ongoing task performances in young adults as reflected by longer reaction time (d=0.224) though the effect size was small. The present study supports the positive effect of implementation intention on PM. The mechanism and potential implications of this promising strategy especially for clinical/sub-clinical people are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical samples
  • Implementation intention
  • Meta-analysis
  • Prospective memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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