Prospective person memory refers to the task of being on the lookout for a missing or wanted person. In both laboratory and field-based tasks, prospective person memory performance has been poor. In the current study, we examined two factors that could be manipulated in the real world to increase successful recovery of missing or wanted persons: expectations of encounter and the cost of reporting wanted persons. Participants completed a computer task that simulated normal day-to-day tasks (i.e., grocery shopping) while looking for four “wanted” persons. Participants who were given accurate context expectations made more accurate sightings and more inaccurate sightings than participants who were given inaccurate context expectations. The cost of reporting a sighting did not affect sighting rates. These findings indicate that people are more likely to notice a wanted person in their environment when they expect to encounter the wanted person in that environment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)