Suspended goals are those that are postponed by an agent because they do not fit into the agent's current, ongoing agenda of plans. Recognizing later opportunities to achieve suspended goals is an important cognitive ability because it means that one can defer work on a goal until one is in a better position to achieve the goal. This paper focuses on when and how such opportunities are recognized in everyday planning situations. According to our account of the phenomenon, suspended goals are associated at the time of encoding with features of the environment in which goal achievement would likely be possible. This process is referred to as predictive encoding. Later, when these features are perceived in the environment through normal inferential processes, the agent is reminded of suspended goals through features previously associated with them, and recognizes the opportunity to achieve the goals. This approach is compared with other recent theories of opportunistic planning, and empirical work is presented which supports predictive encoding as an explanation for opportunistic planning behavior.
- problem solving,
- prospective memory