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Opportunistic planning: Being reminded of pending goals
Cognitive Psychology (1997)
  • Andrea L Patalano, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
  • Colleen M Seifert, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Investigated when and how pending goals are recognized in everyday planning situations and offered a predictive encoding model of goal representation. Ss in all 3 experiments were undergraduate students and were provided with a situation, various goals and varying amounts of suggestions on how to achieve the goals. Exp 1 provides evidence that pending goals are stored as long-term memory elements that become associated, at the time of encoding, with features of the environment representing opportunities to achieve the goals, consistent with the predictive encoding model. Exp 2 shows that these predictive inferences tend to be concrete, rather than more abstract, which is nonoptimal for recognizing novel opportunities. However, as shown in Exp 3, instructions to encode a potential plan with only abstract constraints can lead to recognition of a wider range of opportunities. These findings provide evidence for the predictive encoding model and suggest ways to facilitate the later recognition of opportunities for satisfying pending goals.

  • planning,
  • problem solving,
  • opportunism
Publication Date
Citation Information
Patalano, A. L., & Seifert, C. M. (1997). Opportunistic planning: Being reminded of pending goals. Cognitive Psychology, 34, 1-36.