Achtziger, A., Bayer, U. C., & Gollwitzer, P. M. (2012). Committing to implementation intentions: Attention and memory effects for selected situational cues. Motivation and Emotion, 36, 287-300.
Two studies tested whether forming implementation intentions (Gollwitzer, Am Psychol 54:493–503 in 1999) results in a heightened activation of specified situational cues. Going beyond prior studies, participants of the present studies specified these opportunities on their own (i.e., the action cues were not assigned by the experimenter), and activation level was assessed by attraction of attention and recall performance rather than lexical decisions. In Study 1, situational cues associated with the where and when to act on an everyday life goal attracted more attention than non-specified cues when presented to the non-attended channel in a dichotic listening task. In Study 2, the recall of specified cues was better than that of non-specified cues both 15 min after forming implementation intentions and after a delay of 2 days. Importantly, goal commitment and implementation intention commitment moderated this effect.