Background: So far, training of prospective memory (PM) focused on very short instances (single sessions) and targeted the intention-formation phase only. Objective: We aimed to compare the effectiveness of 2 different 4-week strategy-based PM training types, namely imagery training (targeting the encoding of the PM intention in the intention-formation phase) versus rehearsal training (targeting the maintenance of the PM intention in the intention-retention phase) in older adults. Methods: We used a 4-week training protocol (8 sessions in total, 2 sessions per week). From the 44 participants, 21 were randomly assigned to the imagery training (vividly imagining a mental picture to memorize the connection between the PM cue words and related actions during intention formation) and 23 to the rehearsal training (rehearsing the PM cue words during intention retention). The criterion PM task was assessed before and after the training. Results: Comparing the effectiveness of both training types, we found a significant time by training type interaction on PM accuracy in terms of PM cue detection, F(1, 42) = 6.07, p = 0.018, η2p = 0.13. Subsequent analyses revealed that the rehearsal training was more effective in enhancing PM accuracy in terms of PM cue detection than the imagery training. Conclusion: Strategy-based PM training in older adults targeting the maintenance of the PM intention in the intention-retention phase may be more effective in enhancing PM accuracy in terms of PM cue detection than the strategy targeting the encoding of the PM intention in the intention-formation phase. This suggests that for successful prospective remembering, older adults may need more support to keep the PM cues active in memory while working on the ongoing task than to initially encode the PM intention.

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