Philip Peper

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology



First Advisor

Hunter Ball


Reminders are effective ways to improve prospective memory (PM) – our ability to remember to complete a future action – but reminder use may have unintended consequences. Recent work in retrospective memory has shown that expecting a reminder reduces unaided memory retrieval by reducing encoding effort (i.e., encoding effort hypothesis). However, previous research in PM varies as to whether encoding effort influences PM retrieval. We measured study duration (Experiment 1) and pupil size (Experiment 2), and manipulated depth of processing (Experiment 3) at encoding to examine whether encoding effort influences PM retrieval (i.e., encoding effort hypothesis). Across all experiments, we had participants complete four PM task blocks followed by a recognition memory task. Two reminder conditions had reminders for the first three blocks, but not on the fourth. A no reminder control never had a reminder. Critically, a non-expecting reminder condition was told they would not have a reminder prior to encoding targets in the fourth block, while an expecting reminder condition was told they would have a reminder. The encoding effort hypothesis was supported by showing expecting a reminder in the fourth block reduced unaided PM retrieval and target recognition (Experiments 1 and 2) and deep processing at encoding improved unaided PM retrieval and target recognition while negating the effect of expecting a reminder (Experiment 3). Our results suggest reminder expectations reduce encoding effort, and greater encoding effort improves unaided retrieval, but having reminders at retrieval offsets the negative effects of reduced encoding effort. We propose the PM Effort Monitoring and Control Framework that describes how when participants experience the low effort and effectiveness of retrieval with reminders, this awareness leads to a less effortful encoding strategy when they expect another reminder during a subsequent PM task.


prospective memory, encoding, offloading, reminder, metacognition


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Psychology Commons