This chapter reviews individual differences in prospective memory (PM) in two domains: healthy aging and psychopathology. It highlights evidence for the idea that individuals differ in their PM ability because of variability in both attention-based processes and long-term memory. Age-related declines in PM are non-trivial, as every day PM tasks are critical for maintaining independence. Age-related declines in attentional abilities may put older adults at risk for other types of PM failures. PM is critical for a variety of clinical populations because failures could be detrimental to one’s health, like forgetting to take one’s seizure medication, or taking too much medication by accident. Episodic memory ability is another critical mechanism for successful PM. Many clinical populations display episodic memory impairment, but perhaps the population with the most notable deficits are those suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia. Many individual differences studies in college-aged samples have examined correlations between PM target detection and various cognitive ability measures.
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