Document Type


Publication Date

January 1997

Journal or Book Title

Cognitive Psychology




Investigated when and how pending goals are recognized in everyday planning situations and offered a predictive encoding model of goal representation. Ss in all 3 experiments were undergraduate students and were provided with a situation, various goals and varying amounts of suggestions on how to achieve the goals. Exp 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. Exp 2 shows that these predictive inferences tend to be concrete, rather than more abstract, which is nonoptimal for recognizing novel opportunities. However, as shown in Exp 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.