Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Alice F. Healy


In an attempt to examine the protective function of prospective memory as outlined by Bourne, Healy, Bonk, and Buck-Gengler (2011), a follow-up study was designed to introduce a more critical examination of the phonological loop and its effects on this process. Primary study procedure consisted of a memory task involving remembering the color of a name and a location as a means of determining where to click on a screen subsequently. Experimental design included a day of training in which participants were exposed to a secondary task, consisting of either of one of two articulatory suppression strategies, either counting backwards by threes or constant repetition of the word “the,” or silence for the duration of the current block of trials. Participants were asked to return on a second day 48 hours later at which point their retention and transfer of ability to the other secondary conditions was tested. The same protective function demonstrated by Bourne et al. (2011) was found for prospective memory, as well as transfer between the experimental conditions, indicating that the location of this protective function may exist outside of the phonological loop. An additional desirable difficulty hypothesis was explored using the gradient of difficulties created by the different secondary task conditions, but no significant results were found within these data.