Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Denise Beike

Committee Member

Jim Lampinen

Second Committee Member

Darya Zabelina


Cognitive Load, Construal Level, Executive Function, Future Planning, Working Memory


Planning for the future is a necessary activity which spans across all aspects of an individual’s life. Concurrent cognitive load has been shown to hinder future planning, whereas concrete construal of events has been shown to increase planning efficacy. Interestingly, a limited literature speaks towards cognitive load inducing concrete construal. However, the two constructs predict differing outcomes on future planning therefore the interaction of cognitive load inducing a concrete construal is particularly interesting. The research study tested whether differing levels of concurrent cognitive load increase or decrease planning efficacy. The intention of the research was to elucidate whether cognitive load or construal is a greater predictor of planning as this will fill a gap in the literature. 693 participants were sampled and revealed significant main effects of cognitive load and task type on planning steps generated and enthusiasm. The predicted interactions between cognitive load and task type were not observed. Conclusions from the results are that cognitive load negatively impacts planning behavior and the results of this study did not confirm the induction of concrete construal under cognitive load.