Emily Koberstein, Stephanie Clancy Dollinger, Ph.d, & Sherrie Parks, M.A.
Department of Psychology
The Relation between Self-Reported Alcohol and Cannabis Use and Prospective Memory in College Students
The aim of this study is to see if there is a relation between drug use and prospective memory performance. Prospective memory is the ability to remember to do something in the future and is a vital aspect of everyday living. Prospective memory can be broken down into short-term, long-term and event-based or time-based components. Most research on prospective memory has primarily examined differences between young and old adults (e.g., Einstein & McDaniel, 2005; Rendell & Craik, 2000; Schnitzpahn et al., 2014). The current study examined possible effects of self-reported alcohol and cannabis use on prospective memory performance. A computer based Virtual Week task was used to assess prospective memory; and a questionnaire was used to assess substance use in college students at a large Midwestern university. Prospective memory performance was examined in five groups; non-drug users, alcohol-only user, cannabis-only users, alcohol and cannabis users, poly-drug users. It was hypothesized that prospective memory scores would be lowest in college students who reported poly-drug use followed by students who reported combined alcohol and cannabis use. Alcohol-only and cannabis-only users were expected to have similar results, while non-drug users were expected to perform the best on the prospective memory task. Findings and implications of drug use on prospective memory in college students is discussed.