Washington: Ever wonder why extremely capable surgeons leave scissors in the patient`s gut, after successfully concluding a difficult operation? It`s not carelessness but failure of prospective memory, according to a US study.R. Key Dismukes, scientist at the NASA Ames Research Centre, highlights various ways in which the nitty-gritty of daily tasks interacts with the normal cognitive processes, to produce memory failures that sometimes have disastrous consequences, the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science reports.Why would such highly skilled professionals forget to perform a task they have executed without difficulty thousands of times before? Researchers reveal that these lapses may not reflect carelessness or lack of skill but are failures of prospective memory.Common in daily life, these memory lapses are mostly annoying, but can have tragic consequences."Every summer several infants die in hot cars when parents leave the car, forgetting the child is sleeping quietly in the back seat," Dismukes points out, according to a NASA statement.Several airline catastrophes, too, have occurred because pilots were interrupted while performing critical pre-flight tasks. After the interruption was over, the pilots skipped to the next task, not realising that the interrupted tasks hadn`t been finished.Examples of prospective memory involve intending to do something at a particular time, such as going to a doctor`s appointment, or on a particular occasion, such as congratulating a friend the next time you see her.
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