The most common memory complaints are concerned with failures of prospective memory, yet this aspect of memory function is rarely assessed formally.
What is prospective memory?
Prospective memory is the ability to remember to do things at a particular time or within a given interval of time or when a certain event happens.
In other words, prospective memory is remembering to do things rather than remembering things that have already happened. For people with brain injury, failures in prospective memory, such as forgetting to take medication, can have devastating effects on everyday life and are likely to threaten independence.
Despite its clinical significance, prospective memory has been relatively under investigated, due perhaps to the absence of a suitably objective and standardised clinical instrument, which is able to accommodate activities in daily life as opposed to ‘laboratory’ or computerised tasks that may not reflect real life needs.
Following a pilot study (Groot et al, 2002), the authors modified this version and now offer a test that comprises of three time based tasks and three event based tasks.
Norms have been collected from 212 controls and a group of people with brain injury. Considerable differences between age groups and groups of different ability levels are reported and reflected in the scoring. Significant correlations with retrospective memory functioning were found.