Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Cynthia Cimino, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marina Bornovalova, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Robert Schlauch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sandra Schneider, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent Small, Ph.D.


Impulsivity, Monetary Incentives, Reward, Loss


Prospective memory (PM) refers to memory for future intentions and involves several cognitive processes including memory, executive functions, and attention. PM has been studied extensively in clinical populations in which these cognitive processes are impaired but has only recently been studied in Huntington’s disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disease of the basal ganglia that is associated with neuropsychiatric, movement, and cognitive changes. The purpose of the present study was to further examine PM in HD, as well as investigate the influence of impulsivity on PM performance and whether a monetary incentive (either reward or loss) would improve PM performance. Results of the current study indicated that overall individuals with HD performed worse on a PM task compared to Controls. Control participants evidenced significantly better PM performance when they could have potentially lost money compared to a Neutral PM task. HD participants demonstrated a similar pattern of findings at a trending significance level. Impulsivity, as measured by the total score on the BIS-11, was not related to PM performance in either group. Controls scored significantly higher on a self-reported measure of prospective and retrospective memory (PRMQ) relative to HD participants with a trending association between the PRMQ and PM performance in Controls, but no association in HD participants. While there was a significant difference between groups on a recognition test of PM cues, there was no difference between groups on a free recall test of PM task instructions. These results build upon previous research that has found PM deficits in HD by investigating possible factors that may improve PM performance in this clinical population. Future research should investigate other motivational factors that may further increase PM performance in HD.