Research Reports - Improving prospective memory performance with future event simulation in traumatic brain injury patients

Br J Clin Psychol. 2017 Jan 17. doi: 10.1111/bjc.12126. [Epub ahead of print]

Mioni G(1), Bertucci E(2), Rosato A(2), Terrett G(3), Rendell PG(3), Zamuner
M(2), Stablum F(1).

OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have shown that traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients
have difficulties with prospective memory (PM). Considering that PM is closely
linked to independent living it is of primary interest to develop strategies that
can improve PM performance in TBI patients.
METHOD: This study employed Virtual Week task as a measure of PM, and we included
future event simulation to boost PM performance. Study 1 evaluated the efficacy
of the strategy and investigated possible practice effects. Twenty-four healthy
participants performed Virtual Week in a no strategy condition, and 24 healthy
participants performed it in a mixed condition (no strategy - future event
simulation). In Study 2, 18 TBI patients completed the mixed condition of Virtual
Week and were compared with the 24 healthy controls who undertook the mixed
condition of Virtual Week in Study 1. All participants also completed a
neuropsychological evaluation to characterize the groups on level of cognitive
functioning.
RESULTS: Study 1 showed that participants in the future event simulation
condition outperformed participants in the no strategy condition, and these
results were not attributable to practice effects. Results of Study 2 showed that
TBI patients performed PM tasks less accurately than controls, but that future
event simulation can substantially reduce TBI-related deficits in PM performance.
The future event simulation strategy also improved the controls' PM performance.
CONCLUSIONS: These studies showed the value of future event simulation strategy
in improving PM performance in healthy participants as well as in TBI patients.
PRACTITIONER POINTS: TBI patients performed PM tasks less accurately than
controls, confirming prospective memory impairment in these patients.
Participants in the future event simulation condition out-performed participants
in the no strategy condition. Future event simulation can substantially reduce
TBI-related deficits in PM performance. Future event simulation strategy also
improved the controls' PM performance. 

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