Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


James M. Lampinen

Committee Member

William Levine

Second Committee Member

Denise Beike


Attention, Memory, Missing Person, Prospective Memory, Prospective Person Memory


I examined the role of memory and attention in prospective person memory. Prospective person memory involves being on the lookout for a person with the goal of completing some task (i.e., contacting the authorities) upon encountering the person. Success at prospective person memory tasks in lab and field based studies is rather low (i.e., less than 10% of people report encountering the person). In the current study the prospective person memory task involved a simulated search for a missing person. I manipulated attention to the missing person and strategic monitoring, which involves being in retrieval mode and searching for cues. Participants saw a mock missing person alert. Half of participants saw an alert (i.e., target alert) that featured a photo of a confederate that they would encounter later and the other half saw an alert that featured a photo of a description-matched (to the confederate) foil to control for guessing. A short time after seeing the alert participants encountered the confederate during a scavenger hunt that was staged as a separate experiment. If participants reported seeing the confederate they won a portion of a cash prize. I manipulated attention by having some participants interact with the confederate. I manipulated strategic monitoring by giving half of participants a reminder to search for the missing person while they were in the vicinity of the confederate. Participants who strategically monitored the environment were more likely to make a sighting than participants who were not instructed to strategically monitor. In addition, when participants were not instructed to strategically monitor those who had their attention drawn to the confederate were more likely to make a sighting than those who did not. Finally, participants who saw the target alert were more likely to make a sighting than participants who saw the foil alert.