Opportunistic Planning: Being Reminded of Pending Goals

Opportunistic Planning: Being Reminded of Pending Goals Pending goals are intentions that are postponed by a planner because they do not fit into the current, ongoing activity. Recognizing later opportunities to achieve pending goals is an important cognitive ability because it allows one to defer work on a goal until one is in a better position to achieve it. This research focuses on when and how pending goals are recognized in everyday planning situations and offers a predictive encoding model of goal representation. Experiment 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. Experiment 2 shows that these predictive inferences tend to be concrete (e.g., “use Vaseline to remove a stuck ring”), rather than more abstract (e.g., “use any lubricant”), which is nonoptimal for recognizing novel opportunities. However, as shown in Experiment 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Cognitive Psychology Elsevier

Opportunistic Planning: Being Reminded of Pending Goals

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 Academic Press
ISSN
0010-0285
eISSN
1095-5623
DOI
10.1006/cogp.1997.0655
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Pending goals are intentions that are postponed by a planner because they do not fit into the current, ongoing activity. Recognizing later opportunities to achieve pending goals is an important cognitive ability because it allows one to defer work on a goal until one is in a better position to achieve it. This research focuses on when and how pending goals are recognized in everyday planning situations and offers a predictive encoding model of goal representation. Experiment 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. Experiment 2 shows that these predictive inferences tend to be concrete (e.g., “use Vaseline to remove a stuck ring”), rather than more abstract (e.g., “use any lubricant”), which is nonoptimal for recognizing novel opportunities. However, as shown in Experiment 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.

Journal

Cognitive PsychologyElsevier

Published: Oct 1, 1997

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