A list is especially helpful while shopping for things that you do not buy regularly, while you can generally rely on memory while buying familiar items, the findings suggest.

Although this may seem like an intuitive solution, statistics show that only about half of shoppers use lists, the study pointed out.The findings were published online in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. For the study, the researchers observed more than 700 consumers in different scenarios.

The investigators were eager to find out if people could predict how many items on the list they would remember to buy once they started shopping after they spent 10 minutes reading a story.

"One of our key findings is that people don't correctly anticipate when they are more likely to forget items," said Daniel Fernandes, assistant professor of marketing at Catholic University of Portugal.

"When we have something in our mind, it is hard to imagine that we will forget it,"  Fernandes noted. This failure to predict our forgetfulness suggests that people should always bring a shopping list, he explained. These findings could also have broader implications for performance at work. "We often rely on our memories to perform familiar tasks at work, and those tasks will come easily to mind, but unfamiliar tasks are hard to recall," Fernandes said.

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