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College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology

Suzanna Penningroth

Non-Tenure Track Associate Professor

Ph.D. University of Illinois at Chicago, 1995

Contact Information

Office: Johnson Tower 313
Phone: (509) 335-8946
Website: Cognition and Memory Lab


Classes Taught

  • Psychology 311: Elementary Statistics in Psychology
  • Psychology 312: Research Methods in Psychology

Research Interests

  • Cognitive and motivational variables in prospective memory
  • Automatic and controlled processing in real-world retrospective and prospective memory
  • Aging and memory

My main research focus is on prospective memory, or remembering to perform intentions. I have also become interested in how motivational variables (goals, task importance, social importance) affect prospective memory, both generally and in different age groups.  For example, a recent project examined whether activation of a helping goal improved performance on a related prospective memory task (a task that benefited a charity).   I have also hypothesized that the goals linked to prospective memory tasks might be important for understanding age-related differences in prospective memory. For example, I found that young and older adults have different types of goals, reflecting specific differences predicted by lifespan development theories.  Another topic of interest is improving memory, both for prospective memory tasks and for remembering information.  For example, I’ve looked at improving prospective memory performance with strategies.  Recently, I’ve been intrigued by human factors, including automatic and controlled processing, and the role they play in real world memory tasks.

Representative Publications:

McCrea, S. M., Penningroth, S. L., & Radakovich, M. P. (2015).  Implementation intentions forge a strong cue-response link and boost prospective memory performance.  Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 27, 12-26.

Penningroth, S. L., & Scott, W. D. (2013). Task importance effects on prospective memory strategy use, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27, 655-662.

Penningroth, S. L., & Scott, W. D. (2013).  Prospective memory tasks related to goals and concerns are rated as more important by both young and older adults, European Journal of Ageing, 10, 211-221.

Penningroth, S. L., Graf, P., & Gray, J. M. (2012). The effect of a working memory load on the intention-superiority effect:  Examining features of automaticity, Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26, 441 – 450.

Penningroth, S. L., & Scott, W. D.  (2012). Age-related differences in reported goals:  Testing predictions from selection, optimization, and compensation theory and socioemotional selectivity theory, International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 74, 87 – 111.

Penningroth, S. L., Scott, W. D., & Freuen, M. (2011). Social motivation in prospective memory:  Higher importance ratings and reported performance rates for social tasks, Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 3 – 11.

Penningroth, S. L. (2011).  When does the intention-superiority effect occur?  Activation patterns before and after task completion, and moderating variables, Journal of Cognitive Psychology (formerly European Journal of Cognitive Psychology) 23, 140 – 156.

Penningroth, S. L., & Scott, W. D.  (2007).  A Motivational-Cognitive Model of Prospective Memory:  The Influence of Goal Relevance.  In F. Columbus (Ed.), Psychology of Motivation (pp.115 – 128).   Hauppauge, NY:  Nova Science Publishers, Inc.



Washington State University