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Abstract

This study investigated whether temporal clustering of autobiographical memories (AMs) around periods of self-development (Rathbone, Moulin, & Conway, 2008, 2009) would also occur when imagining future events associated with the self. Participants completed an AM task and future thinking task. In both tasks, memories and future events were cued using participant-generated identity statements (e.g., I am a student; I will be a mother). Participants then dated their memories and future events, and finally gave an age at which each identity statement was judged to emerge. Dates of memories and future events were recoded as temporal distance from the identity statement used to cue them. AMs and future events both clustered robustly around periods of self-development, indicating the powerful organisational effect of the self. We suggest that life narrative structures are used to organise future events as well as memories.

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... This distribution of memories around the time that identity emerges has consistently been observed across studies, showing a similar pattern in both young and older adults (Chessell et al., 2014;Rathbone et al., 2011), and for both positive and negative self-images (Rathbone & Steel, 2015). Furthermore, experimental work has shown that self-images generated earlier in lists are more salient for identity and associated with larger networks of memories . ...
... The organization of future events around future selves As previously discussed in "The organization of memories around self-images, " there is evidence that self-images play an organizational role within AM. The extent to which future events follow a similar pattern was explored by Rathbone et al., (2011), using the I Will Be task as a future counterpart to the IAM task. This task follows the same procedure as the IAM task, with the exception that participants are asked to generate "I will be" statements, which describe new selves that they might become in the future (e.g., "I will be a traveler"). ...
... Using the IAM and the I Will Be tasks in a sample of young adults, Rathbone et al. (2011) reported a very similar clustering effect around the time of identity emergence for both current and future selves. Future self-images appeared to have an organizational function within future thinking. ...
Chapter
This chapter reviews the organizational role of the self in the distributions and accessibility of memories and imagined future events. It covers research on the self-reference effect, self-defining memories, and the reminiscence bump. In this context, the different methods used to explore the relationships between the self, autobiographical memory, and future thinking are reviewed. A comparative view of the findings obtained for the past and the future are also given. The contributions of studies conducted in both healthy controls and clinical populations are discussed. One section is devoted to investigations in people with neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions and their contribution to improving our understanding of the relationships between autobiographical memory and the self.
... They enable people to describe different elements and roles of their identity and to decide which are important to the definition of their own current self (e.g., 'I am a father', 'I am an architect'; see Kuhn & McPartland, 1954;Linville, 1985;Markus & Wurf, 1987). Similar to research on episodic future thinking, research on future self-images has also demonstrated that when people are asked to freely generate future self-images, they usually produce a higher proportion of positive than negative self-images (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011;Rathbone, Salgado, Akan, Havelka, & Berntsen, 2016). In addition, there is evidence suggesting that this bias favoring the generation of positive self-images is found across young, middle-age and older adults (Salgado & Berntsen, 2018), and that positive self-images are dated to emerge closer to the person's present regardless of age (Chessell, Rathbone, Souchay, Charlesworth, & Moulin, 2014;Smith & Freund, 2002). ...
... We used the I will be task, as well as the He/She will be task. The I Will Be Task (Rathbone et al., 2011) aims to examine future personal cognitions. In this task, participants are asked to generate future self-images of themselves in the form of 'I will be…' statements (e.g. ...
... The two experiments showed that when participants freely generated future events and self-images, they showed an overwhelming preference for nominating positive events and self-images over neutral or negative ones. These results are in line with previous findings on episodic (e.g., D'Argembeau & Van Der Linden, 2004b) and future self-images research (e.g., Rathbone et al., 2011). Here, we extended these results for future events and future self-images generated for an acquaintance. ...
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Article
Numerous studies on episodic future thinking have demonstrated that individuals perceive their future as more positive and idyllic than their past. It has been suggested that this positivity bias might serve a self-enhancement function. Yet, conflicting findings and lack of systematic studies on the generalizability of the phenomenon leave this interpretation uncertain. We provide the first systematic examination of the positivity bias across different domains and tasks of future thinking. First, we use the same tasks in two different domains of future thinking, representing an episodic (events) and a semantic dimension (self-images), respectively. Second, we use two different measures of positivity bias (i.e., frequency of positive versus negative instances and their distance from present). Third, we contrast each measure in each domain for events/self-images related to self versus an acquaintance. Experiments 1 and 2 showed a strong, general tendency for the generation of positive future events/self-images, but most pronounced for self, relative to an acquaintance. Experiments 3 and 4 demonstrated that positive future events/self-images were dated closer to present, whereas negative ones were pushed further into the future, but only for self and not for an acquaintance. Our results support the idea that the positivity bias in future thinking serves a self-enhancement function and that this bias likely represents a similar underlying motivational mechanism across different domains of future thinking, whether episodic or semantic. The findings add to our understanding of the motivational functions served by different forms of future thoughts in relation to the self.
... According to another view, the distance with which individuals project themselves into the future may not simply be a function of age-related changes in perspectives, but may be formed by age-independent cognitive and motivational constraints. To address these questions, this study examined the temporal distribution of future self-images generated by a large representative sample of Danish adults from 18 to 70 years of age (998 participants), using the "I will be" task (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). The results showed that participants concurred on a surprisingly short future horizon, dating their future self-images within the first 5 to 10 years from their present, irrespective of any demographic factor. ...
... One exception is Chessell, Rathbone, Souchay, Charlesworth, and Moulin (2014), who asked 21 college students and 24 community-dwelling older adults to freely generate future self-images in the form of "I will be ____" statements (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011) and to give an estimated date of when their generated future self-images were most likely to occur. Their findings were similar to those in episodic future thinking in that older adults dated future self-images closer to the present (on average 2.60 years into the future) compared with younger adults who dated future self-images further into the future (on average 6.35 years into the future). ...
... Given the nature of the samples in previous work on future self-images in different age groups comparing college students with older adults from the general population, and often neglecting middle-age adults (e.g., Rathbone et al., 2011), it is unclear whether the findings reflect age effects or cognitive constrains and motivational factors operating independently of age. Using a large, representative sample of adults covering the entire adult life span from 18 to 70 years of age, and controlling for demographic factors, the goal of the present study was to examine the effects of age on the temporal distribution of future self-images. ...
Article
Little research has been conducted as to how far older and younger adults extend their self-images into the future, that is, their imagined future selves, such as imagined future family roles, future hobbies, or future traits. According to one line of research, we should expect aging to be associated with changes in future time perspective, such that older adults perceive their futures as more limited and less central compared with younger adults. According to another view, the distance with which individuals project themselves into the future may not simply be a function of age-related changes in perspectives, but may be formed by age-independent cognitive and motivational constraints. To address these questions, this study examined the temporal distribution of future self-images generated by a large representative sample of Danish adults from 18 to 70 years of age (998 participants), using the “I will be” task (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). The results showed that participants concurred on a surprisingly short future horizon, dating their future self-images within the first 5 to 10 years from their present, irrespective of any demographic factor. The findings also revealed that all age groups generated considerably more positive future images and that these were closer to their present whereas negative ones were pushed further into their future. The results suggest motivational and cognitive constraints producing uniformly short future horizons of the self-projections across all age groups.
... We hypothesised that temporally distant self-images would elicit more observer perspectives in episodic thoughts than temporally near self-images and current self-images. Utilising a repeated measures design, sixty-eight undergraduate students completed IAM, I Will Be near and I Will Be far conditions (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011) to generate self-images and their related episodic thoughts. It was found that episodic qualities were reliably affected by different self-images. ...
... The current investigation develops this line of research in two important ways: (1) It is the first study to use a paradigm eliciting two temporally-defined future selves; those in the near and far temporal distance. This departs from previous studies which did not manipulate the temporal distance of future selves (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011) or only manipulated temporal distance at the event level (D'Argembeau & Van der Linden, 2004). (2) It uses these near and far possible selves to cue episodic scenarios that are thought to represent those self-images. ...
... Of the four quadrants of this model, our study focuses upon; objective-present self, objective temporally-extended self and subjective temporally-extended self (It is beyond the scope of this paper to investigate the more intractable subjective present self). Regarding the objective self, one can specify a 'present' selfimage (e.g., 'I am a doctoral student') and a temporally-extended future self-image (e.g., 'I will be a lecturer', see Rathbone et al., 2011). In the current investigation, we envisaged that the temporally-extended future selves would incorporate two levels or representations; episodic possible futures (e.g., 'In the first day of a new lecturing job I will see and hear the new department, whilst feeling equally nervous and excited') involving the subjectively-experienced future self, and also objectively known future self-images (e.g., 'I will be ambitious'). ...
... We hypothesised that temporally distant self-images would elicit more observer perspectives in episodic thoughts than temporally near self-images and current self-images. Utilising a repeated measures design, sixty-eight undergraduate students completed IAM, I Will Be near and I Will Be far conditions (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011) to generate self-images and their related episodic thoughts. It was found that episodic qualities were reliably affected by different self-images. ...
... The current investigation develops this line of research in two important ways: (1) It is the first study to use a paradigm eliciting two temporally-defined future selves; those in the near and far temporal distance. This departs from previous studies which did not manipulate the temporal distance of future selves (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011) or only manipulated temporal distance at the event level (D'Argembeau & Van der Linden, 2004). (2) It uses these near and far possible selves to cue episodic scenarios that are thought to represent those self-images. ...
... Of the four quadrants of this model, our study focuses upon; objective-present self, objective temporally-extended self and subjective temporally-extended self (It is beyond the scope of this paper to investigate the more intractable subjective present self). Regarding the objective self, one can specify a 'present' selfimage (e.g., 'I am a doctoral student') and a temporally-extended future self-image (e.g., 'I will be a lecturer', see Rathbone et al., 2011). In the current investigation, we envisaged that the temporally-extended future selves would incorporate two levels or representations; episodic possible futures (e.g., 'In the first day of a new lecturing job I will see and hear the new department, whilst feeling equally nervous and excited') involving the subjectively-experienced future self, and also objectively known future self-images (e.g., 'I will be ambitious'). ...
Article
Thinking about our possible selves can entail thinking about self-related imagined future events. When remembering and imagining, individuals can use both 1st person (field) and 3rd person (observer) perspectives. There is currently a paucity of research examining the visual perspectives of episodic future thoughts that represent possible selves. We hypothesised that temporally distant self-images would elicit more observer perspectives in episodic thoughts than temporally near self-images and current self-images. Utilising a repeated measures design, sixty-eight undergraduate students completed IAM, I Will Be near and I Will Be far conditions (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011) to generate self-images and their related episodic thoughts. It was found that episodic qualities were reliably affected by different self-images. Specifically, observer perspective predilections increased with future temporal distance. Findings are discussed in relation to self-continuity with recommended practical applications of visual perspective utilisation for wellbeing.
... Most studies investigating the association of autobiographical contents to identity representations have focused on episodic memory contents, and there is considerable evidence that healthy adults can retrieve self-defining memories of singular events that are rich in detail and meaning (Bennouna-Greene et al., 2012;Lardi, D'Argembeau, Chanal, Ghisletta, & Van der Linden, 2010;Martinelli, Anssens, Sperduti, & Piolino, 2013b;McLean & Fournier, 2008;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). However, recent research has begun to investigate the relation of personal semantic contents to these knowledge structures. ...
... Although the present experiments did not reveal a prominent role for episodic memory, prior research has established that self-defining memories of unique events can ground one's identity representations (Conway, 2005;Rathbone et al., 2011). It is also important to note that a life event could be represented by both personal semantic and episodic memory contents (Winocur & Moscovitch, 2011). ...
... Nevertheless, it would be interesting to include targeted probes in a narrative task to further assess the time periods from which individual autobiographical contents were retrieved. Prior research has shown that healthy adults tend to associate identity representations with episodic memory contents that occurred in close proximity to the period of time when such themes emerged (Rathbone et al., 2011;Rathbone, Moulin, & Conway, 2008). If identity representations are strongly associated with personal semantic contents that were derived from the same time period as episodic memory contents, it could provide insight into the core autobiographical information around which identity representations are grounded. ...
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Article
Identity representations are higher-order knowledge structures that organise autobiographical memories on the basis of personality and role-based themes of one’s self-concept. In two experiments, the extent to which different types of personal semantic content are reflected in these higher-order networks of memories was investigated. Healthy, young adult participants generated identity representations that varied in remoteness of formation and verbally reflected on these themes in an open-ended narrative task. The narrative responses were scored for retrieval of episodic, experience-near personal semantic and experience-far (i.e., abstract) personal semantic contents. Results revealed that to reflect on remotely formed identity representations, experience-far personal semantic contents were retrieved more than experience-near personal semantic contents. In contrast, to reflect on recently formed identity representations, experience-near personal semantic contents were retrieved more than experience-far personal semantic contents. Although episodic memory contents were retrieved less than both personal semantic content types to reflect on remotely formed identity representations, this content type was retrieved at a similar frequency as experience-far personal semantic content to reflect on recently formed identity representations. These findings indicate that the association of personal semantic content to identity representations is robust and related to time since acquisition of these knowledge structures.
... Based on the Twenty Statements Test, Rathbone, Conway and Moulin 28 designed the "I Will Be Task", a task where undergraduate students (mean age = 19.43 years, SD = 1.26) had to generate three "I will be" statements (e.g., a role, a personality trait) describing the selves they might become in the future. According to the authors 28 , the "I Will Be Task" can be used to examine phenomenological features of concepts related to the future self in both healthy and pathological populations. Using Who will I be? 7 the "I Will Be Task", our study assessed how AD patients generated "I will be" statements to describe their future self. ...
... However, this research has not assessed the ability of patients to process concepts related to the future self. Our study addresses this issue by assessing AD patients' ability to produce future concepts of the self, thanks to the "I Will Be Task" 28 . Another originality of our paper was that we further analyzed the "I will be" statements with regard to three basic selfdimensions, i.e., the physical self, the social self, and the psychological self 3 , adding in a fourth dimension that seemed to be particularly relevant when AD patients think about their future self, i.e., self-cessation. ...
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Article
We assessed how Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients would imagine their self in the future. AD patients and healthy controls were asked to generate statements beginning with “I-will-be” to describe how they saw themselves or how they wished to be in the future. These statements were analyzed in terms of four self-dimensions, i.e., physical self, social self, psychological self and self-cessation. The latter was investigated to assess how AD patients processed the idea of their own mortality. Findings demonstrated fewer total “I-will-be” statements in AD participants than in controls, suggesting that the construction of future self-concepts becomes weaker in the disease. Our results also demonstrated fewer statements related to the physical-self, the social-self and the psychological-self, and more statements related to self-cessation in AD participants than in controls. These findings suggest that AD patients are highly preoccupied by the idea of death when thinking about the future of their self.
... In addition, they may incorporate new or forget old imagined future events which may be associated with different lessons or future-oriented self-images (i.e., representations of the self) (see Jeunehomme & D'Argembeau, 2017;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). ...
... For example, memories from the second decade of life tended to revolve around identity issues, whereas memories from the third decade were mostly about achieving intimacy. Clare Rathbone and her colleagues have found that, when asked to generate AMs cued by current self-images (e.g., "I am ambitious"), individuals tend to report AMs of experiences that occurred around the time they think the self-images emerged (Rathbone, Moulin, & Conway, 2008) and that they tend to do the same when it comes to future selfimages and future imagined events (Rathbone et al., 2011). Taken together, these findings suggest that memories retain their links to the working self and its goals and that, over time, past and future relevant AMs give rise to specific self-images. ...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on how autobiographical memory shapes the self. It presents Dan P. McAdams’ model, which sees personality as consisting of dispositional traits, characteristic adaptations such as goals and values, and the life story. It describes how the life story is constructed through autobiographical reasoning while individuals try to ensure that it is temporally, causally, thematically, and culturally coherent. It also discusses the influence of age and culture in this process and the role that emotions and goals play in determining which memories are retained in long-term memory. The chapter ends with a description of self-defining memories.
... Individuals constantly edit or add new chapters to it: they incorporate new memories into the life story, reinterpret remote memories, forget some experiences, or fi nd that some themes holding experiences together are no longer relevant to them . In addition, they may incorporate new or forget old imagined future events which may be associated with different lessons or future- oriented self-images (i.e., representations of the self) (see Jeunehomme & D'Argembeau, 2017 ;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011 ). To illustrate how a change in the life story may occur, imagine a person who has always thought that they are na ï ve because they had a rather sheltered childhood. ...
... For example, memories from the second decade of life tended to revolve around identity issues, whereas memories from the third decade were mostly about achieving intimacy. Clare Rathbone and her colleagues have found that, when asked to generate AMs cued by current self-images (e.g., "I am ambitious" ), individuals tend to report AMs of experiences that occurred around the time they think the self-images emerged (Rathbone, Moulin, & Conway, 2008 ) and that they tend to do the same when it comes to future self-images and future imagined events (Rathbone et al., 2011 and its goals and that, over time, past and future relevant AMs give rise to specifi c self-images. Ultimately, some of the memories that the working self decides are important and need to be retained become self-defi ning memories (SDMs) . ...
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Book
Autobiographical memory shapes our understanding of ourselves, guides our behaviour, and helps us to develop and maintain relationships with others. The ways in which we interpret and narrate our memories have important implications for our psychological well-being, and can sometimes contribute to the onset and maintenance of a variety of psychological disorders. Autobiographical Memory and the Self: Relationship and Implications for Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy synthesises the growing cognitive, social, personality, and clinical psychological literature on the memory-self relationship. It creates an interdisciplinary dialogue which explores autobiographical memory and its relevance for clinical practice, especially cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). The authors propose a model for understanding the mechanisms of change involved in therapeutic interventions targeting negative or traumatic memories whilst providing insights into recent debates and avenues for future research. Autobiographical Memory and the Self will be useful to clinicians and clinical trainees, researchers, and psychology postgraduate students.
... This bias suggests that imagined future events play a more important role for self-regulation and contribute more to a positive self-image than events that actually happened in the past (episodic memories) or could have happened in the past (episodic counterfactuals). For instance, imagining future events may play a key role in self-regulation through its link with the specific future selves one has (e.g., I will be a mother, I will study harder, I will spend more time with close friends; see Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). Theoretically, it has indeed been suggested that possible selves that are representations of who one might become in the future (Markus & Nurius, 1986;Rathbone et al., 2011) direct one's future behaviours through their motivational effects in the self-regulation process (e.g., Hoyle & Sherrill, 2006;vanDellen & Hoyle, 2008). ...
... For instance, imagining future events may play a key role in self-regulation through its link with the specific future selves one has (e.g., I will be a mother, I will study harder, I will spend more time with close friends; see Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). Theoretically, it has indeed been suggested that possible selves that are representations of who one might become in the future (Markus & Nurius, 1986;Rathbone et al., 2011) direct one's future behaviours through their motivational effects in the self-regulation process (e.g., Hoyle & Sherrill, 2006;vanDellen & Hoyle, 2008). This interpretation is consistent with the fact that this dominance was especially pronounced for the reflective function. ...
Article
People revisit situations from their past and imagine what could have happened had the situation played out differently. This form of hypothetical thinking is known as episodic counterfactual thinking. The reasons why people engage in episodic counterfactual thinking have not been examined in the same context with remembering the past and imagining the future. We addressed this gap, by focusing on the perceived functions and phenomenological characteristics of the most important episodic counterfactuals compared with episodic memories and future projections in younger adults. We base our analyses on four categories of functions previously identified for past events: reflective, social, generative, and ruminative. The reflective and social functions dominated across all events, with the reflective function being most pronounced for future projections, potentially suggesting a close connection between future projections and self-regulation and/or identity formation. Counter to predictions, the ruminative function was not rated higher for episodic counterfactuals than for other events; however, ratings of ruminative function showed unique correlations with the emotional intensity and involuntary remembering for episodic counterfactuals. Overall, these results suggest that episodic counterfactuals are used for self-reflection and social sharing more than they are used for rumination and generative concerns.
... Supporting this adaptive function, research has associated far future sightedness with stable decisions (e.g., saving money) (Thorstad & Wolff, 2018) and unusually short future sightedness with addictive behaviors such as gambling (Hodgins & Engel, 2002), alcoholism (Smart, 1968), and drug dependence (Petry et al., 1998). Besides its adaptive function, future thinking serves an identity function as it provides a sense of continuity of the self over time (D'Argembeau et al., 2012;Rathbone et al., 2011;Schacter et al., 2017). ...
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Article
We evaluated the relationship between eye movements and future thinking. More specifically, we evaluated whether maintained fixation could influence cognitive characteristics of future thinking. We invited participants to imagine future events in two conditions: while freely exploring a white wall and while fixating a cross on the wall. Results demonstrated fewer and longer fixations, as well as fewer and shorter saccades during maintained fixation condition than in the free gaze condition. Shorter total amplitude of saccades was also observed during the maintained fixation condition than during the free-gaze condition. Regarding the cognitive characteristics of future thinking, fewer spatiotemporal details and less visual imagery, slower retrieval time, and shorter descriptions were observed for future thinking during maintained fixation than during free-gaze condition. These results demonstrate that maintaining fixation results in an effortful construction of future scenarios. We suggest that maintained fixation limits the cognitive resources that are required for future thinking.
... As mentioned above, autobiographical memory serves self, social, and directive functions (Bluck, 2003). Autobiographical memory shapes the subjective sense of the self (Conway & Pleydell-Pearce, 2000;Prebble et al., 2013;Tulving, 2002), and the self organises the content of autobiographical remembering (Rathbone et al., 2011;Rathbone & Steel, 2015). Furthermore, remembering vivid and specific autobiographical memories leads to effective problem solving (Goddard et al., 1996;Pillemer, 2003) and guides future thinking Williams et al., 1996). ...
Article
While numerous studies have examined the characteristics of specific autobiographical memories, until recently, no questionnaire has asked how individuals remember their past in general. We developed a Japanese version of the Autobiographical Recollection Test (ART), which consists of seven components (vividness, narrative coherence, reliving, rehearsal, scene, visual imagery, and life story relevance) and surveys the general characteristics of autobiographical remembering. Confirmatory factor analysis and item response theory showed that the Japanese version of the ART had sufficient psychometric properties and generally correlated as hypothesised with self-report questionnaires as a measure of convergent validity. While the short version of the Japanese ART correlated positively with the internal details (episodic elements) of autobiographical narratives, the full version did not correlate with internal details. We discuss the use of ART for future research examining individual and cultural differences in autobiographical remembering.
... All items are J o u r n a l P r e -p r o o f rated on a 5-point scale, from 1 to 5, and summed per subscale; higher values indicate a greater sense of past/present/future time perspective. [52]. A free response question asking participants to imagine their future self-identity (e.g., 'I will be a mother"). ...
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Article
Addressing the mental health needs of healthcare staff exposed to psychologically traumatic events at work during the COVID-19 pandemic is a pressing global priority. We need to swiftly develop interventions to target the psychological consequences (e.g., persistent intrusive memories of trauma). Interventions for healthcare staff must be brief, flexible, fitted around the reality and demands of working life under the pandemic, and repeatable during ongoing/further trauma exposure. Intervention delivery during the pandemic should be remote to mitigate risk of infection; e.g., here using a blend of digitalized self-administered materials (e.g., video instructions) and guided (remote) support from a researcher. This parallel groups, two-arm, randomised controlled trial (RCT) with healthcare staff working during the COVID-19 pandemic is the first evaluation of whether a digitalized form of a brief cognitive task intervention, which is remotely-delivered (guided), reduces intrusive memories. Healthcare staff (target N = 130 completers) who experience intrusive memories of work-related traumatic event(s) during the COVID-19 pandemic (≥2 in the week before inclusion) will be randomly allocated (1:1) to receive either the cognitive task intervention or an active (attention placebo) control, and followed up at 1-week, 1-month, 3-months, and 6-months post-intervention. The primary outcome will be the number of intrusive memories reported during Week 5; secondary and other outcomes include the number of intrusive memories reported during Week 1, and other intrusive symptoms. Findings will inform further development and dissemination of a brief cognitive task intervention to target intrusive memories.
... We are very grateful to the both the anonymous reviewers and editor, for their thoughtful comments on the first draft of this paper, from which many improvements followed. 1 We also wish to honour Richard Gregory who first suggested story telling robots-see Acknowledgements. 2 Which would provide an interesting model of remembering by re-imagining [42]. ...
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Article
This paper presents a series of experiments in collective social robotics, spanning more than 10 years, with the long-term aim of building embodied models of (aspects of) cultural evolution. Initial experiments demonstrated the emergence of behavioural traditions in a group of social robots programmed to imitate each other’s behaviours (we call these Copybots). These experiments show that the noisy (i.e. less than perfect fidelity) imitation that comes for free with real physical robots gives rise naturally to variation in social learning. More recent experimental work extends the robots’ cognitive capabilities with simulation-based internal models, equipping them with a simple artificial theory of mind. With this extended capability we explore, in our current work, social learning not via imitation but robot–robot storytelling, in an effort to model this very human mode of cultural transmission. In this paper, we give an account of the methods and inspiration for these experiments, the experiments and their results, and an outline of possible directions for this programme of research. It is our hope that this paper stimulates not only discussion but suggestions for hypotheses to test with the Storybots. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘The emergence of collective knowledge and cumulative culture in animals, humans and machines’.
... Which would provide an interesting model of remembering by re-imagining[Rathbone et al., 2011] ...
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Preprint
This paper presents a series of experiments in collective social robotics, spanning more than 10 years, with the long-term aim of building embodied models of (aspects) of cultural evolution. Initial experiments demonstrated the emergence of behavioural traditions in a group of social robots programmed to imitate each other's behaviours (we call these Copybots). These experiments show that the noisy (i.e. less than perfect fidelity) imitation that comes for free with real physical robots gives rise naturally to variation in social learning. More recent experimental work extends the robots' cognitive capabilities with simulation-based internal models, equipping them with a simple artificial theory of mind. With this extended capability we explore, in our current work, social learning not via imitation but robot-robot storytelling, in an effort to model this very human mode of cultural transmission. In this paper we give an account of the methods and inspiration for these experiments, the experiments and their results, and an outline of possible directions for this programme of research. It is our hope that this paper stimulates not only discussion but suggestions for hypotheses to test with the Storybots.
... Our control group had less integrated projections than memories and this result is in contrast with the study from Demblon et al. (2017) displaying more integrated SDFPs than SDMs. One potential explanation of this discrepancy is the age of the control population recruited as many studies on the general population and self-defining events have been conducted on students' population and not on middle-aged participants (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011;Sutin & Stockdale, 2011). Another potential explanation for this result is that participants may have elicit personal semantic responses for SDFPs (Renoult, Davidson, Palombo, Moscovitch, & Levine, 2012). ...
Article
Bipolar disorder (BD) is a disabling disorder with functional impact on everyday life. Recent studies suggest that autobiographical memory impairment may contribute to the maintenance of psychopathology, leading to enduring altered self-construct. Moreover, past personal experiences also support the ability to project oneself into the future to pre-experience an event, this capacity can be modified by psychiatric disorders. Self-defining memories and future projections by accessing highly significant events that are vivid and focused on central goals or enduring concerns can both provide a better understanding of the impact of disorders on self-perception and on the ability to project oneself into the future. Therefore we proposed to explore self-defining memories and future projections in BD patients (n = 25) compared to control participants (n = 25). BD patients’ self-defining events were associated with more tension, life-threatening events, and negative emotion. BD patients also reported less integrated past but not less integrated future self-defining events. And their future projections were more closely related to leisure, and associated with positive emotions, compared to controls. For both groups, the future projections were less specific, integrated, and tense than the memories. These results question the self-coherence of patients’ identity and should be confirmed to propose appropriate interventions to project oneself adaptively into the future and contribute to a better outcome.
... We specifically analyzed categories of self-related statements evoked in the odour and odor-free conditions (i.e., psychological self, social self and physical self). In line with the procedure of Rathbone et al. (2011), statements were coded as: psychological if they referred to a "personality trait that required the participants to be introspective" (e.g., gentle, nervous, caring, friendly, lucky); social if they referred to a social category that was verifiable (e.g., student, musician, technician, psychologist); physical if they referred to the appearance of the individual (e.g., tall, overweight, blond). As recommended by Rhee et al. (1995), statements describing two self-categories were analyzed in terms of the principal unit. ...
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Research has demonstrated a link between decline in autobiographical memory and decline in the sense of self in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Recent work has also shown that odour is a powerful cue to alleviate decline in autobiographical memory in AD. Based on these findings, we investigated whether odour exposure improves access to self-concept in AD patients. To this end, we invited AD and control participants to make self-related statements (i.e., statements in response to the question “Who am I?”) after odour exposure or without odour exposure. We measured the number and the categories of self-related statements (i.e., whether these statements described the psychological, social or physical self) that were generated in each condition. Results demonstrated that both AD and control participants generated more self-statements in the odour condition than in the odor-free condition, especially psychological self-statements. This study is the first to demonstrate the positive influence of olfactory stimulation on the retrieval of self-related knowledge in AD.
... Supporting this adaptive function, future thinking has been associated with stable decisions (e.g., saving money) [8] and unusually short future sightedness has been associated with addictive behaviors such as gambling [9], alcoholism [10], and drug dependence [11]. Besides its adaptive function, future thinking serves an identity function as it provides a sense of continuity of the self over time [2,12,13]. Further, future thinking enables emotion regulation as projecting ourselves into the future allows imaginations of negative situations that we would avoid or positive situations that we strive to achieve [5,[14][15][16][17]. ...
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Background The pupil typically dilates in reaction to cognitive load. In this study, we, for the first time, investigated whether future thinking (i.e., the ability to generate hypothetical scenarios in the future) would result in pupil dilation.Methods We recorded pupil dilation of participants during two conditions: past and future thinking. In past thinking, we invited participants to retrieve past personal events, while in future thinking, we invited them to imagine an event that may occur in the future.ResultsAnalysis demonstrated a larger pupil size during future than past thinking. Results also demonstrated longer retrieval time of future events compared with past ones, suggesting that future thinking perhaps requires more cognitive load than for past thinking. Interestingly, retrieval times during past and future thinking were positively correlated with pupil size.DiscussionThe finding that future thinking activates pupil dilation could be due to the fact that while both past and future thinking require retrieving information from memory, future, but not past, thinking additionally requires the ability to recombine this information into novel scenarios.
... Level of detail and intensity of experience vary with temporal distance in a similar manner in both forms of MTT (D'Argembeau and Van der Linden 2004, 2006D'Argembeau et al. 2011;Addis et al. 2011;Schacter et al. 2012), in line with Tulving's (1985) claim that the same phenomenologyautonoetic consciousness, or consciousness of the self in subjective time-is involved in both remembering the past and imagining the future. And studies of autobiographical memory have found that episodic memory and episodic future thought are organized in a similar fashion, in the sense that autobiographical memories and autobiographical future events are embedded in the same narrative structures (Rathbone et al. 2011). ...
Article
Originally understood as memory for the “what”, the “when”, and the “where” of experienced past events, episodic memory has, in recent years, been redefined as a form of past-oriented mental time travel. Following a brief review of empirical research on memory as mental time travel, this introduction provides an overview of the contributions to the special issue, which explore the theoretical implications of that research.
... As is evident by Table 1, individuals report more sensorial detail (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010;Gordon, Gerrig, & Franklin, 2009;Quoidbach et al., 2008) better spatial coherence, and clearer contextual information (D'Argembeau & Van der Linden, 2004Gordon et al., 2009;Quoidbach et al., 2008;Viard et al., 2011;Weiler et al., 2011) when remembering the past than they do when imagining the future. Furthermore, participants generally report that when they remember the past, their thoughts form a more coherent story (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010;D'Argembeau & Van der Linden, 2004Weiler et al., 2011), and they experience that story from a field perspective, i.e., visualizing the scene from the originally experienced perspective as opposed to seeing themselves in the scene (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010;D'Argembeau & Van der Linden, 2004Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011;Viard et al., 2011;Weiler et al., 2011). ...
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Thesis
According to research on mental time travel, differences between episodic memory and episodic future thought are due to temporal direction (i.e., past vs. future). Recently, it has been suggested that it is familiarity with memories and associated details that may affect such differences. Following the recombination methodology of Addis, Pan, Vu, Laiser, and Schacter (2009), participants (N = 27) were asked to recall episodic memories, and to imagine episodic events in the past, present, or future using memory details ranked for level of familiarity collected prior to the experiment. Data on both self-report (e.g., vividness, effortfulness) and objective (e.g., level of detail, coherence) characteristics of the remembered and imagined events were collected. It was predicted that familiarity with memories and associated details, not temporal direction, would account for the differences between episodic memory and future thought. Results did not support this hypothesis, but demonstrated that the variation between episodic memory and episodic future thought is due to the relationship between remembering and imagination. Suggestions are made to (a) change conceptualization of episodic future thought such that the focus is on the process of imagining and not on mental projection into the future, and (b) replicate the current design with a false memory condition to validate and expand upon the findings.
... More widely known is the link between future thinking and the self (Conway, Loveday & Cole, 2016;Conway, Justice & D'Argembeau, 2019;Prebble, Addis & Tippett, 2013). Indeed, the way one perceives their future roles (e.g., 'I will be a father', Rathbone, Conway & Moulin, 2011), lifetime periods (see Thomsen, 2015 for a review) and the way individuals 'pre-experience' possible future events with vivid first-person mental imagery (D'Argembeau & Van der Linden, 2004) have all been argued to have important links with self-identity Conway et al., 2019;Prebble, Addis & Tippett, 2013). ...
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Article
Future thinking is defined as the ability to withdraw from reality and mentally project oneself into the future. The primary aim of the present study was to examine whether functions of future thoughts differed depending on their mode of elicitation (spontaneous or voluntary) and an attribute of goal-relatedness (selected-goal-related or selected-goal-unrelated). After producing spontaneous and voluntary future thoughts in a laboratory paradigm, participants provided ratings on four proposed functions of future thinking (self, directive, social and emotional regulation). Findings showed that spontaneous and voluntary future thoughts were rated similarly on all functions except the directive function, which was particularly relevant to spontaneous future thoughts. Future thoughts classed as goal-related (selected-goal-related) were rated higher across all functions, and there was largely no interaction between mode of elicitation and goal-relatedness. A higher proportion of spontaneous future thoughts were selected-goal-related compared with voluntary future thoughts. In general, these results indicate that future thinking has significant roles across affective, behavioural, self and social functions, and supports theoretical views that implicate spontaneous future thought in goal-directed cognition and behaviour.
... First, the attribution of a characteristic to a past or future self presupposes an awareness of the self as evolving within a temporal context (Szpunar and Tulving, 2011). Second, the knowledge of prospective characteristics and the imagination of future events have been shown to closely interact with and shape one another (D'Argembeau, 2015;D'Argembeau et al., 2012;Demblon & D'Argembeau, 2017;Rathbone, Conway and Moulin, 2011). Although prior research has emphasized the links between the episodic and semantic aspects of future thinking, the recollection of past events might likewise inform knowledge about future selves. ...
Article
Knowledge about the future self may engage cognitive processes typically ascribed to episodic memory, such as awareness of the future self as an extension of the current self (i.e., autonoetic consciousness) and the construction of future events. In a prior study (Tanguay et al., 2018), temporal orientation influenced the Late Positive Component (LPC), an ERP correlate of recollection. The LPC amplitude for present traits was intermediate between semantic and episodic memory, whereas thinking about one's future traits produced a larger LPC amplitude that was similar to episodic memory. Here, we examined further the effect of temporal orientation on the LPC amplitude and investigated if it was influenced by whether knowledge concerns the self or another person, with the proximity of the other being considered. Participants verified whether traits (e.g., Enthusiastic) were true of themselves and the “other,” both now and in the future. Proximity of the other person was manipulated between subjects, such that participants either thought about the typical traits of a close friend (n = 31), or those of their age group more broadly (n = 35). Self-reference and temporal orientation interacted: The LPC amplitude for future knowledge was larger than for present knowledge, but only for the self. This effect of temporal orientation was not observed when participants thought about the traits of other people. The proximity of the other person did not modify these effects. Future-oriented cognition can engage different cognitive processes depending on self-reference; knowledge about the personal future increased the LPC amplitude unlike thinking about the future of other people. Our findings strengthen the notion of self-knowledge as a grey area between semantic and episodic memory.
... highlight the similarities between the cognitive processes involved in simulating possible futures and remembering the past(Klein 2013, Schacter et al. 2012, Schacter and Madore 2016, such as common contextual and sensory characteristics(Szpunar and McDermott 2008), reflection on personal concerns(Rathbone et al 2011), similar brain regions activation(Benoit and Schacter 2015, Buckner andCarroll 2007). For several researchers, these similarities are due to the fact that both thinking about experiences in the past and the future rely massively on episodic memory, a specific form of memory that gives us the ability to recollect personal experiences happened in particular places and moments(Tulving 2002, Schacter andMadore 2016). ...
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Thesis
This thesis seeks to analyse how we relate to the future in a complex and uncertain world, our attempts to predict it and what cognitive strategies may influence our judgment and decision. It will also try to develop a better understanding of what elements can help us to improve our prospection, both as individuals, in personal choices, and as a society, to plan and address our actions. The first chapter will describe how the relationship between humans and the future has evolved in history. The second chapter will introduce some of the main concepts of futures studies, and the attempts to give a structure to the discipline. The third chapter gathers psychology contributions to future thinking, the proposed paradigm shift from the classic past perspective to a new approach that considers the future, and some of the mechanisms that deceive our perception of the future. The fourth chapter discusses how we deal with complexity and uncertainty, and examines the concept of Black Swan and the strategies to predict the future. Finally, the fifth chapter reflects on the previously mentioned aspects and underlines the role of present attitudes to improve prospection.
... Autobiographical knowledge also contributes to link and organize imagined future events in coherent themes and event sequences. Notably, episodic future thoughts are frequently embedded in event clusters according to their causal and thematic relations (Demblon & D'Argembeau, 2014;D'Argembeau & Demblon, 2012) or their links to future self-images (Demblon & D'Argembeau, 2017;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). ...
Article
The ability to decouple from the present environment and explore other times is a central feature of the human mind. Research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience has shown that the personal past and future is represented at multiple timescales and levels of resolution, from broad lifetime periods that span years to short-time slices of experience that span seconds. Here, I review this evidence and propose a theoretical framework for understanding mental time travel as the capacity to flexibly navigate hierarchical layers of autobiographical representations. On this view, past and future thoughts rely on two main systems—event simulation and autobiographical knowledge—that allow us to represent experiential contents that are decoupled from sensory input and to place these on a personal timeline scaffolded from conceptual knowledge of the content and structure of our life. The neural basis of this cognitive architecture is discussed, emphasizing the possible role of the medial pFC in integrating layers of autobiographical representations in the service of mental time travel.
... Unsurprisingly, a more similar affective response emerged from comparing future imagination to counterfactual imagination, which enables people to mentally change past events according to their desires (Schacter, Benoit, De Brigard, & Szpunar, 2015) as this technique is clinically applied in imagery rescripting trauma therapy (Morina, Lancee, & Arntz, 2017). Whether the exact same or different events were imagined in the past and future did not affect the results, possibly indicating that it is not the content itself but rather the particular ascribed meaning of an event that influences our affective response (⁎Demblon & D'Argembeau, 2016;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). ...
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Imagining the future is a fundamental human capacity that occupies a large part of people’s waking time and impacts their affective well-being. In this meta-analysis, we examined the effect of (1) positive future imagination and (2) negative future imagination on affect, and (3) compared the affective responses between imagining the future and remembering the past; lastly, we (4) examined potential moderating variables in this regard. We identified 63 experimental studies (N = 6,813) from different research areas and combined studies that applied the best possible self imagination task, future worry induction, and episodic future simulation, respectively. Findings yielded that imagining the future has a moderate to strong impact on affect, and it has a stronger influence on affect compared to remembering the past. Relevant moderator variables in each research area were also identified. We discuss the findings for the field of psychology in general and clinical psychology in particular. More elaborate research on personal future imagination seems crucial for the further advancement of clinical applications for mental health complaints. We conclude with recommendations for future research on the impact of future imagination on affective well-being.
... Here, we describe the various 'levels' of future-based knowledge specified within this model, which interact to enable humans to imagine specific episodic future events (Atance & O'Neill, 2001;Szpunar, 2010). The most abstract is the conceptual self which represents knowledge of future self-images, such as 'I will be a mother' or 'I will be a professor' (Rathbone, Conway & Moulin, 2011). Of intermediate specificity is the level corresponding to one's life story (McAdams, 2001) and lifetime periods in which future periods are represented, such as 'When I have a family' or 'when I am retired' (see Thomsen, 2015). ...
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In this article, we address an apparent paradox in the literature on mental time travel and mind-wandering: How is it possible that future thinking is both constructive, yet often experienced as occurring spontaneously? We identify and describe two ‘routes’ whereby episodic future thoughts are brought to consciousness, with each of the ‘routes’ being associated with separable cognitive processes and functions. Voluntary future thinking relies on controlled, deliberate and slow cognitive processing. The other, termed involuntary or spontaneous future thinking, relies on automatic processes that allows ‘fully-fledged’ episodic future thoughts to freely come to mind, often triggered by internal or external cues. To unravel the paradox, we propose that the majority of spontaneous future thoughts are ‘pre-made’ (i.e., each spontaneous future thought is a re-iteration of a previously constructed future event), and therefore based on simple, well-understood, memory processes. We also propose that the pre-made hypothesis explains why spontaneous future thoughts occur rapidly, are similar to involuntary memories, and predominantly about upcoming tasks and goals. We also raise the possibility that spontaneous future thinking is the default mode of imagining the future. This dual process approach complements and extends standard theoretical approaches that emphasise constructive simulation, and outlines novel opportunities for researchers examining voluntary and spontaneous forms of future thinking.
... number of goals and number of words) suggest that the narration of the past relates to the richness of the narration of the future. Similarly, neuroimaging and memory studies show neural and cognitive similarities between remembering the past and imagining the future (Bohn & Berntsen, 2013;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011;Schacter et al., 2012). ...
Article
To determine if a weak narrative self is a core feature of schizophrenia or if it is the result of experiencing the clinical symptoms of the disease, we examined the narrative self of those at high psychometric risk for schizophrenia (HR). Following a screening procedure (n = 310), 80 undergraduate students (39 at HR) wrote personal narratives about a turning-point event in their life, and about a possible future. The turning-point narratives were coded for topic, specificity, event valence, valence of causal coherence link, overall level of causal coherence, and agency. The future narratives were coded for the number and valence of goals, topic of goals, and specificity of goals. Word count was applied to all narratives. The HR group expressed lower levels of agency and a trend of lower levels of causal coherence when narrating turning-point events. When imagining their futures, HR participants produced shorter narratives and showed a trend of having fewer goals. Including the dimensions of both the turning point and the future narratives revealed that the HR group membership was best predicted by lower levels of agency and of causal coherence in the turning-point narrative, and fewer words in the future narrative. In conclusion, whereas most of the narrative dimensions were similar between the groups, narratives differed specifically in those few elements that are critical for the achievement of narrative continuity. Hence, consistent with the theory, people at high risk for schizophrenia already present, to some extent, an impoverishment in their narrative sense of self.
... Other methods that can be used to collect autobiographical memories have not been compared directly. However, it appears that personal events retrieved with the timeline method (e.g., De Vries & Watt, 1996;Elnick et al., 1999;Schroots & Assink, 2005), the method in which participants report personal events connected to self-concepts (e.g., Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011;Rathbone et al., 2008), and fluency tasks (e.g., Conway & Holmes, 2004, Exp. 1;Demiray et al., 2009;Howes & Katz, 1992) have similar content, distributions, and properties (e.g., importance) as personal events that are retrieved with requests for the most important events (e.g., Berntsen & Rubin, 2002;Demiray & Janssen, 2015;Fitzgerald, 1996;Holmes & Conway, 1999, Study 1;Rubin & Berntsen, 2003). ...
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Article
People tend to recall more specific personal events from adolescence and early adulthood than from other lifetime periods, a finding known as the reminiscence bump. Several explanations have suggested that events from the reminiscence bump are especially emotional, important, or positive, but studies using cue words have not found support for these claims. An alternative account postulates that cognitive abilities function optimally in adolescence and early adulthood, which may cause more memories to be stored in those lifetime periods. Although other studies have previously discussed the cognitive abilities account as a possible explanation for the reminiscence bump, it was only recently shown that cognitive abilities are indeed related to autobiographical memory performance. When this recent finding is combined with previous findings that cognitive abilities as well as autobiographical memory function optimally in adolescence and early adulthood, they suggest that the cognitive abilities account is a promising explanation for the reminiscence bump in the temporal distribution of word-cued memories. However, because the account does not aim to explain the reminiscence bump in the distribution of highly significant events, it should be regarded as complementary to the existing accounts.
... Data were coded according to three categories: physical self, social self and psychological self. In line with the procedures ofRathbone, Conway, and Moulin (2011), statements were considered as describing physical self if they reflected attributes that were apparent from appearance (e.g., some statements as provided by AD patients: I am beautiful, I am sick, I am old, I am thin, I am alive; some statements as provided by controls: I am beautiful, I am old, I am free, I am strong, I am healthy), social if they reflected a social attribute or role (e.g., some statements as provided by AD patients: I am grandmother, I am grandfather, I am a ...
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We investigated whether autobiographical retrieval would improve the sense of self in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Participants with AD and controls were asked to produce statements describing their self, i.e., statements to the question “Who am I?”, after two conditions: after autobiographical retrieval and after a control verbal fluency task. The production of “Who am I?” statements was analyzed regarding three self-dimensions (i.e., physical self, social self, and psychological self). Results revealed better production of descriptions related to physical self, social self, and psychological self after autobiographical retrieval than after the control condition in AD patients and control participants. At a clinical level, encouraging patients to retrieve autobiographical memories may be used as a tool to activate the sense of self in AD. At a theoretical level, they are concordant with a model suggesting a bidirectional relationship between autobiographical memory and the self in AD.
... Consistent with this is the finding that observer memories become more likely with aging (Piolino et al., 2006). This influence of the distance from "now" is also observed for episodic future thoughts, with projections further in the future being more likely to be experienced from an observer perspective (D'Argembeau & Van der Linden, 2004;Macrae et al., 2015;McDermott, Wooldridge, Rice, Berg, & Szpunar, 2016;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). It should also be noted that, overall, episodic future thoughts are more likely to be reported from an observer perspective than are retrospective memories. ...
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Article
Six studies explored the preponderance of people who experience third-person perspective observer memories during autobiographical memory retrieval. The concept of first-person field versus observer memories has been extensively used in the areas of cognitive, social, and clinical psychology. An implicit assumption is the idea that most people use both of these perspectives. What varies are the circumstances that bias people to use one perspective over another for a given autobiographical memory. We challenge that assumption across six studies by showing that, while there are some people who report to regularly have observer memories, there are also those that report to rarely or never have them. These reports were found to be related to levels of reported dissociative experiences. We discuss how this difference in the experience of observer memories may also reflect other innate characteristics, and may correspond to predispositions for various pathologies, including depression, social phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
... These different levels of representations are therefore intimately linked, and they are not only at stake to remember and know the remote and recent personal past, but also to pre-experience and conceive one's personal future (Abram, Picard, Navarro, & Piolino, 2014;Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011). Some memories of the past, especially those from adolescence and young adulthood, are particularly crucial for the construction and the maintenance of the sense of identity (Fitzgerald, 1996;Piolino, Desgranges, Benali, & Eustache, 2002;Piolino et al., 2006). ...
Article
A recently tested hypothesis suggests that inter-individual differences in episodic autobiographical memory (EAM) are better explained by individual identification of typical features of a gender identity than by sex. This study aimed to test this hypothesis by investigating sex and gender related differences not only in EAM but also during retrieval of more abstract self-knowledge (i.e., semantic autobiographical memory, SAM, and conceptual self, CS), and considering past and future perspectives. No sex-related differences were identified, but regardless of the sex, feminine gender identity was associated with clear differences in emotional aspects that were expressed in both episodic and more abstract forms of AM, and in the past and future perspectives, while masculine gender identity was associated with limited effects. In conclusion, our results support the hypothesis that inter-individual differences in AM are better explained by gender identity than by sex, extending this assumption to both episodic and semantic forms of AM and future thinking. https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1W4xU3lcz3hhUc
... While AM and EFT impairments have been documented in patients with PD (De Vito, Gamboz, Brandimonte, Barone, Amboni, & Della Sala, 2012;Smith, Souchay & Conway, 2010;Souchay & Smith, 2013), the extent to which these deficits are associated with changes in the self remains poorly understood. In the current study, we addressed this issue using recent methodologies that have been developed in relation to models of AM and EFT, which operationalize the self as self-images, that is enduring and important facets of the self, including physical, psychological, or social aspects (Rathbone, Conway, & Moulin, 2011;Rathbone, Moulin, & Conway, 2008). ...
Article
The study of the self in neuropsychological patients raises not only theoretical questions on the relationships between the self, autobiographical memory (AM), and episodic future thinking but also clinical issues for patients’ daily life and care. We addressed this issue in Parkinson’s disease patients for whom AM and future thinking impairments have been documented. All patients and controls generated and dated up past and future self-images and provided associated past and future events. Our findings suggest a subtle pattern of preservation/impairment of different dimensions (quantitative and qualitative) of self-images, which rely partially on the episodic quality of past and future events.
... Finally, cognitive evidence points toward a role for episodic future thinking in shaping an individual's sense of self and identity [92,93], both cognitive and neuroimaging evidence indicate a connection between episodic future thinking and divergent creative thinking [94,95], and studies of spatial navigation show that episodic simulation makes an important functional contribution to planning routes and achieving navigational goals (see Box 3). Mechanisms and functions of episodic future thinking. ...
Article
Episodic future thinking refers to the capacity to imagine or simulate experiences that might occur in one's personal future. Cognitive, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging research concerning episodic future thinking has accelerated during recent years. This article discusses research that has delineated cognitive and neural mechanisms that support episodic future thinking as well as the functions that episodic future thinking serves. Studies focused on mechanisms have identified a core brain network that underlies episodic future thinking and have begun to tease apart the relative contributions of particular regions in this network, and the specific cognitive processes that they support. Studies concerned with functions have identified several domains in which episodic future thinking produces performance benefits, including decision making, emotion regulation, prospective memory, and spatial navigation.
... As reported in the findings, the majority of the memories evoked by the items centred around the moment the item was first seen, such as the store or aisle where the item was found or the moment and location when a Facebook message was created. The finding that memories centre around the time that the cue became part of their life was also found in several studies by Rathbone et al. (2008Rathbone et al. ( , 2011. Although their cues were of a different nature, they used selfreported 'I am statements' (self-images) as a cue for self-related memories. ...
Article
Full text article can be found on: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1750698017709872 We are surrounded by personal items that can trigger memories, such as photos, souvenirs and heirlooms. Also during holidays, we collect items to remind us of the events, but not all bring back memories to the same extent. Therefore, we explored peoples’ responses to personal items related to a holiday, using the home tour interviewing method. In total, 63 accounts of cuing responses from nine home tours were analysed using thematic analysis. This resulted in four types of cuing responses: (a) ‘no-memory’ responses, (b) ‘know’ responses, (c) ‘memory evoked think or feel’ responses and (d) ‘remember’ responses. For each of these cuing response categories, we looked into the types of items and their characteristics. Furthermore, we found that some items can evoke multiple memories. The majority of the memories’ content refers to events close to the moment of acquiring the item.
... 8,85 Patients with frontal lobe damage are known to demon strate deficits in planning actions for tasks that require foresight. 86 The ability to think about the self and to focus attention on one's inner experience is clearly important for the process of future thinking, 87,88 and is posited to rely on the dmPFC subsystem of the default network. 13 Future thinking has not yet been explored in bvFTD, but considerable impairments to this function are prob able, given the early dmPFC atrophy. ...
Article
Converging evidence suggests that when individuals are left to think to themselves, a so-called default network of the brain is engaged, allowing the individual to daydream, reflect on their past, imagine possible future scenarios, and consider the viewpoints of others. These flexible self-relevant mental explorations enable the anticipation and evaluation of events before they occur, and are essential for successful social interactions. Such self-projective efforts are particularly vulnerable to disruption in frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a neurodegenerative disorder involving damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. In this Review, we explore how the progressive degeneration of the neural networks in two subtypes of FTD—the behavioral variant and semantic dementia—affects key structures of the default network and putative self-projective functions. We examine the available evidence from studies of autobiographical memory, episodic future thinking, theory of mind, moral reasoning, and economic decision-making in these neurodegenerative diseases. Finally, we propose that the mapping of default-network functions onto discrete subsystems of the default network may need revision in light of neuropsychological and clinical evidence from studies in patients with FTD.
Chapter
Researchers have studied non-human primate cognition along different paths, including social cognition, planning and causal knowledge, spatial cognition and memory, and gestural communication, as well as comparative studies with humans. This volume describes how primate cognition is studied in labs, zoos, sanctuaries, and in the field, bringing together researchers examining similar issues in all of these settings and showing how each benefits from the others. Readers will discover how lab-based concepts play out in the real world of free primates. This book tackles pressing issues such as replicability, research ethics, and open science. With contributors from a broad range of comparative, cognitive, neuroscience, developmental, ecological, and ethological perspectives, the volume provides a state-of-the-art review pointing to new avenues for integrative research.
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Research in human–computer interaction (HCI) has identified meaning as an important, yet poorly understood concept in interaction design contexts. Central to this development is the increasing emphasis on designing products and technologies that promote leisure, personal fulfillment, and well-being. As spaces of profound historical significance and societal value, museums offer a unique perspective on how people construct meaning during their interactions in museum spaces and with collections, which may help to deepen notions of the content of meaningful interaction and support innovative design for cultural heritage contexts. The present work reports on the results of two studies that investigate meaning-making in museums. The first is an experience narrative study (N = 32) that analyzed 175 memorable museum visits, resulting in the establishment of 23 triggers that inform meaningful interaction in museums. A second study (N = 354) validated the comprehensiveness and generalisability of the triggers by asking participants to apply them to their own memorable museum experiences. We conclude with a framework of meaning in museums featuring the 23 triggers and two descriptive categories of temporality and scope. Our findings contribute to meaning research in HCI for museums through an articulation of the content of meaning-making in the cultural sector.
Article
Emotional disorders, including depression, are associated with deficits in retrieving past and imagining future autobiographical events. Imagining future events requires accessing different types of information, from general conceptual knowledge to specific event details. Here, we tested the hypothesis that depression levels within a community sample are most strongly reflected in how conceptual information about the self (i.e., self-schemas) are accessed. In an online experiment, we collected ratings of depression as well as anxiety, which often presents alongside depression, in a group of participants who then completed a trait judgment task in which they judged whether positive and negative traits reflected the self or another person, followed by an event imagination task in which participants generated specific future events for the self or another person. A second experiment was run on a separate group of participants who performed these same tasks in reversed order. Across experiments, we found that depression but not anxiety levels were associated with greater endorsement of negative traits only for the self, was not related to the ability to imagine specific future events but did alter how these events were evaluated. An exploratory analysis revealed greater endorsement of negative traits for the self when the trait judgement task came before imagining events. These results provide new insights into how depression levels in a subclinical sample are associated with changes in autobiographical knowledge, enhancing negative self-schemas, when imagining future events.
Article
The relationships between the temporal focus of mind-wandering (i.e., past-oriented and future-oriented mind-wandering) and well-being are important issues for adolescents, which may have significant implications on their well-being and self-identity development. However, few studies tested the temporal focus of mind-wandering and its emotional consequences in adolescents. In the present study, we conducted two studies using self-reported questionnaires from large sample sets to examine the relationships between the temporal focus of mind-wandering and hedonic (pleasure attainment) and eudaimonic (meaning pursuing) well-being among Chinese adolescents. Study 1 preliminarily tested the relationships between the temporal focus of mind-wandering and hedonic well-being among adolescents ( n = 1273) suggesting that both past-oriented mind-wandering (PMW) and future-oriented mind-wandering (FMW) were positively correlated with hedonic well-being. Study 2 used a new sample ( n = 986) and included another aspect of well-being (i.e., eudaimonic well-being), showing that PMW and FMW were both positively correlated with hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Moreover, self-reflection mediated the relationships between FMW and hedonic/eudaimonic well-being, whereas self-reflection did not act as a mediator in the relationships between PMW and well-being. The present findings indicated that both PMW and FMW are beneficial for Chinese adolescents’ well-being, and emphasized the mediating role of self-reflection in the relationships between FMW and well-being.
Article
Autobiographical memory consists of distinct memory types varying from highly abstract to episodic. Self trait knowledge, which is considered one of the more abstract types of autobiographical memory, is thought to rely on regions of the autobiographical memory neural network implicated in schema representation, including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and critically, not the medial temporal lobes. The current case study introduces an individual who experienced bilateral posterior cerebral artery strokes resulting in extensive medial temporal lobe damage with sparing of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Interestingly, in addition to severe retrograde and anterograde episodic and autobiographical fact amnesia, this individual’s self trait knowledge was impaired for his current and pre-morbid personality traits. Yet, further assessment revealed that this individual had preserved conceptual knowledge for personality traits, could reliably and accurately rate another person’s traits, and could access his own self-concept in a variety of ways. In addition to autobiographical memory loss, he demonstrated impairment on non-personal semantic memory tests, most notably on tests requiring retrieval of unique knowledge. This rare case of amnesia suggests a previously unreported role for the medial temporal lobes in self trait knowledge, which we propose reflects the critical role of this neural region in the storage and retrieval of personal semantics that are experience-near, meaning autobiographical facts grounded in spatiotemporal contexts.
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The COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread social disruption and lockdowns, with negative consequences for psychological wellbeing worldwide. We argue that mental simulation, through the cognitive capacity of imagination and its instigator fiction, may have substantial positive contributions to psychological wellbeing during the pandemic. We review relevant research on the evolutionary functions of simulation through imagination and fiction, and propose that simulation is a tool to support (i) planning and future thought, (ii) coping and emotion regulation, (iii) bonding and social needs, and (iv) identity and worldviews. We suggest that these functions can contribute to coping during the pandemic. We also address the dark side of simulation, whereby excessive simulation may have negative effects such as rumination. In light of previous research and the negative psychological effects of COVID-19 disruptions and lockdowns, we suggest that there is much scope for future research on this topic, including whether simulations offered by imaginative activity could be useful and inexpensive mental health tools.
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Attributing mental states to other people fundamentally shapes how we bond, coordinate, and predict the actions of others. Perceiving a person's facial expressions and body language in the present contribute to our ability to understand what they are thinking and feeling. Yet, people do not exist in a vacuum and individuals often think about people who are not directly in front of them. People inhabit remembered and imagined episodes, where the surrounding location and objects can guide attributions of their mental states. In this article, I propose the episodic mindreading hypothesis, arguing that the episodic representation of past and future events in which a target person is embedded will affect whether and how the target's mind is read. The content and phenomenological quality of imagined and remembered episodes can alter what mental states are attributed to a target and the accessibility of those mental states. This hypothesis encourages researchers to think about mentalizing as neither dependent on nor completely exclusive from the episodic memory system. Instead, the episodic memory system can modulate and inform mindreading, and likely vice versa. The article reviews extant knowledge and highlights open questions for future research to explore with implications for healthy and impaired social cognition.
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Although empirically supported treatments for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exist, many patients fail to complete therapy, are nonresponsive, or remain symptomatic following treatment. This paper presents the results of a delayed intervention quasi-randomized controlled study that evaluated the efficacy of narrative reconstruction as an integrative intervention for PTSD. During narrative reconstruction, the patient and therapist reconstruct an organized, coherent, and detailed written narrative of the patient's traumatic experience. Additionally, narrative reconstruction focuses on arriving at the subjective meaning of the traumatic experience for the patient as related to their personal history. Thus, the therapist asks the patient about associations between the traumatic event and other memories and life events. In the present study, 30 participants with PTSD were randomly assigned to an immediate (n = 17) or delayed (n = 13) 15-session narrative reconstruction intervention. Participants in the immediate narrative reconstruction group were evaluated using self-report measures and structured interviews at baseline, posttreatment, and 15-week follow-up. Participants in the delayed narrative reconstruction group were evaluated at baseline, postwaitlist/pretreatment, and posttreatment assessments. Data from the pretreatment evaluation showed no significant differences between groups. Mixed linear models showed significant intervention effects for posttraumatic symptom severity, d = 1.17, from pre- to posttreatment. Although preliminary, these promising findings suggest that narrative reconstruction may be an effective standalone therapy or an add-on to current effective treatment strategies.
Book
The human imagination manifests in countless different forms. We imagine the possible and the impossible. How do we do this so effortlessly? Why did the capacity for imagination evolve and manifest with undeniably manifold complexity uniquely in human beings? This handbook reflects on such questions by collecting perspectives on imagination from leading experts. It showcases a rich and detailed analysis on how the imagination is understood across several disciplines of study, including anthropology, archaeology, medicine, neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and the arts. An integrated theoretical-empirical-applied picture of the field is presented, which stands to inform researchers, students, and practitioners about the issues of relevance across the board when considering the imagination. With each chapter, the nature of human imagination is examined – what it entails, how it evolved, and why it singularly defines us as a species.
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The impact of memory loss on the self in Alzheimer's disease (AD) is poorly understood. Previous research is mixed on whether episodic or semantic memories are most important for supporting identity. The present study examined autobiographical memories cued by self-images (e.g., I am a father) and non-self-related cues in 16 AD patients and 29 healthy older adults. The AD group generated fewer self-images and memories compared to controls, but demonstrated similar temporal organization of self-cued memories. In both groups, self-images were supported by semantic memories that were temporally clustered around times of identity-formation. These self-supporting memories are proposed to form a scaffold to support the self and may persist the longest in AD, as opposed to memories from early adulthood per se. In both AD and control groups, self-images cued more semantic memories than non-self-relevant cues, further suggesting that semantic autobiographical memories play a fundamental role in supporting the self. These findings demonstrate that the self remains largely intact in AD, in spite of severe episodic memory deficits and global cognitive decline. In later stages of the disease, these self-supporting memories could provide effective tools for reminiscence therapy.
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Memories for events require adopting a particular visual perspective—viewing the past from our own eyes or from an observerlike perspective in which we see ourselves in the memory. The current review synthesizes new behavioral and functional-neuroimaging evidence on the role of visual perspective in reshaping memories and how shifting visual perspective to novel viewpoints relies on similar constructive processes during imagination. Directions for future research are also discussed.
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Adolescence is a critical developmental period. It involves the construction and consolidation of “the self” and the laying down of autobiographical memories that endure throughout life. There is limited data that examines how young people spontaneously describe their “self”. The aim of the current study is to provide normative data of adolescent generated self-images and present this in a freely accessible database. A secondary aim is to compare adult and adolescent self-images. Young people (n = 822) aged 13–18 years completed the Twenty Statements Test a task that requires participants to generate their own self-images. Data were coded into “Self-image norms” according to the method devised by Rathbone and Moulin [2017. Exploring memories of the self: 2412 self-image norms for adults aged 17 to 88. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(1445), doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01445]. Descriptive data showed that positive “Traits” were most often used by adolescents to describe “the self”. There were few gender differences, but boys generated fewer self-images than girls. Adolescents were more likely to use “Traits” to describe their “self” and adults were more likely to use “Social roles.” These data are the first set of self-images generated by adolescents, collated in a freely accessible database. They can be used to understand how “the self” is described by adolescents and will be useful for cueing autobiographical memories in young people.
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Dans la dernière décennie la pensée épisodique future, domaine relativement peu étudié auparavant, a pris son essor dans la littérature scientifique. Des recherches récentes suggèrent que certains événements futurs imaginés sont encodés en mémoire, conduisant à la formation de « souvenirs du futur ». L’objectif principal de cette étude était d’évaluer à quel point l’émotion influence l’encodage et la mémorisation de ces « souvenirs du futurs ». Pour ce faire, nous avons utilisé un design à mesures répétées où les participants ont récupéré, dans un rappel libre, le maximum d’événements futurs émotionnels qu’ils ont imaginé en laboratoire une semaine avant. Nous nous sommes surtout concentrés sur la phénoménologie et le contenu de ces événements. Les résultats suggèrent l’existence d’un effet différentiel de l’émotion sur l’imagination d’événements futurs, les événements à valence positive étant plus riches en détails sensoriels et plus intenses au niveau de l’émotion par rapport aux événements à valence négative. Cependant, cet effet semble être réduit lors de la phase de rappel de ces événements. Aucun effet de l’émotion n’a été détecté pour le contenu des événements. Les limitations liées à la présente étude, ainsi que des perspectives d’amélioration futures sont discutées.
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Design is driven by our understanding of users’ experiences. This understanding rests primarily upon users’ reports of their experiences, in the moment, after the fact, or ahead of time. In this paper we ask how the study of and design for experience might be better informed by attending more carefully to differences between these reports. Based on a broad and interdisciplinary literature review, we develop a conceptual framework of multiple selves, each representing a stage in the consolidation of experience accessed by self-report. We explore the use of this framework to support the interpretation of user experience, provide insight into users’ evaluations of their own experiences, and emphasise the importance of design for experience as lived and reflected upon. We discuss the implications of this framing of experience for design, particularly in the case of systems to support self-knowledge, wellbeing, behaviour change, reflection, and decision making.
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This study investigated how personal goals influence age differences in episodic future thinking. Research suggests that personal goals change with age and like autobiographical memory, future thinking is thought to be organised and impacted by personal goals. It was hypothesised that cueing older adults with age-relevant goals should modulate age differences in episodic details and may also influence phenomenological characteristics of imagined scenarios. Healthy younger and older adults completed the Future Thinking Interview [Addis, D. R., Wong, A. T., & Schacter, D. L. (2008). Age-related changes in the episodic simulation of future events. Psychological Science, 19(1), 33–41. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02043.x] adapted to activate age-appropriate goals. Narratives were scored with an established protocol to obtain objective measures of episodic and semantic details. Subjective features such as emotionality and personal significance showed age differences as a function of goal domain while other features (e.g., vividness) were unaffected. However, consistent with prior reports, older adults produced fewer episodic details than younger adults and this was not modulated by goal domain. The results do not indicate that goal activation affects level of episodic detail. With respect to phenomenological aspects of future thinking, however, younger adults show more sensitivity to goal activation, compared with older adults.
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Where do self-defining, autobiographical memories fit within the human information processing system? What are their structural features and organization? What role do they play in the overall personality and sense of identity that define us as unique individuals? These questions have guided my research on self-defining memories in the two decades since. This chapter describes the five characteristics of self-defining memories. Self-defining memories are: (1) vivid, (2) affectively intense, (3) repetitively recalled, (4) linked to other similar memories, and (5) focused on an enduring concern or unresolved conflict of the personality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Attempts to organize, summarize, or explain one's own behavior in a particular domain result in the formation of cognitive structures about the self or self-schemata. Self-schemata are cognitive generalizations about the self, derived from past experience, that organize and guide the processing of the self-related information contained in an individual's social experience. The role of schemata in processing information about the self was examined in 2 experiments by linking self-schemata to a number of specific empirical referents. In Exp I, 48 female undergraduates either with schemata in a particular domain or without schemata were selected using the Adjective Check List, and their performance on a variety of cognitive tasks was compared. In Exp II, the selective influence of self-schemata on interpreting information about one's own behavior was investigated in 47 Ss. Results of both experiments indicate that self-schemata facilitate the processing of information about the self, contain easily retrievable behavioral evidence, provide a basis for the confident self-prediction of behavior on schema-related dimensions, and make individuals resistant to counterschematic information. The relationship of self-schemata to cross-situational consistency in behavior and the implications of self-schemata for attribution theory are discussed. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Recent functional neuroimaging studies have shown that reflecting on representations of the present self versus temporally distant selves is associated with higher activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). In the current fMRI study, we investigated whether this effect of temporal perspective is symmetrical between the past and future. The main results revealed that the MPFC showed higher activity when reflecting on the present self than when reflecting on past and future selves, with no difference between past and future selves. Temporal perspective also modulated activity in the right inferior parietal cortex but in the opposite direction, activity in this brain region being higher when reflecting on past and future selves relative to the present self (with again no difference between past and future selves). These findings show that differences in brain activity when thinking about current versus temporally distant selves are symmetrical between the past and the future. It is suggested that by processing degrees of self-relatedness, the MPFC might sustain the process of identifying oneself with current representations of the self, whereas the right inferior parietal cortex might be involved in distinguishing the present self from temporally distant selves.
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A case of retrograde amnesia, PJM, elucidated the relationship between self, episodic memory and autobiographical knowledge. Results from a variety of measures including the I Am Memory Task (IAM Task), where memories are cued by self-generated self concepts, demonstrate that PJM has a coherent, continuous sense of self, despite having lost episodic memories for an 18-month period. Her use of conceptual autobiographical knowledge, in episodic tasks and to support aspects of identity, shows how autobiographical knowledge can support the self when episodic memories are inaccessible. These results are discussed with relation to current neuropsychological models of self and memory.
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People tend to recall a disproportionately large number of personal events from their adolescence and early adulthood. This "reminiscence bump" has been examined extensively, but its causes remain unclear. In this Internet-based experiment, nearly 3,500 participants were given 10 cue words and were asked to describe the personal events that came to mind. Furthermore, they were asked to date each event and to indicate whether it was a first-time experience. Finally, the participants were asked to rate the strength of the emotional reaction to the event or the valence or the importance of the event. Surprisingly, the reminiscence bump consisted of relatively fewer novel, emotional, important positive or negative events. This result increases the likelihood of an alternative explanation--namely, that memory is generally enhanced in adolescence and early adulthood. However, this account has not been tested directly.
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The self-memory relationship is thought to be bidirectional, in such a way that memories provide context for the self, and equally, the self exercises control over retrieval (Conway, 2005). Autobiographical memories are not distributed equally across the life span; instead, memories peak between ages 10 and 30. This reminiscence bump has been suggested to support the emergence of a stable and enduring self. In the present study, the relationship between memory accessibility and self was explored with a novel methodology that used generation of self images in the form of I am statements. Memories generated from I am cues clustered around the time of emergence for that particular self image. We argue that, when a new self-image is formed, it is associated with the encoding of memories that are relevant to that self and that remain highly accessible to the rememberer later in life. This study offers a new methodology for academics and clinicians interested in the relationship between memory and identity.
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Three studies examined whether the specificity with which people retrieve episodes from their past determines the specificity with which they imagine the future. In the first study, suicidal patients and nondepressed controls generated autobiographical events and possible future events in response to cues. Suicidal subjects' memory and future responses were more generic, and specificity level for the past and the future was significantly correlated for both groups. In the second and third studies, the effect of experimental manipulation of retrieval style was examined by instructing subjects to retrieve specific events or summaries of events from their past (Experiment 2) or by giving high- or low-imageable words to cue memories (Experiment 3). Results showed that induction of a generic retrieval style reduced the specificity of images of the future. It is suggested that the association between memory retrieval and future imaging arises because the intermediate descriptions used in searching autobiographical memory are also used to generate images of possible events in the future.
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People who change often report that their old selves seem like "different people." Correlational (Study 1) and experimental (Studies 2 and 3) studies showed that participants tended to use a 3rd-person observer perspective when visualizing memories of actions that conflicted with their current self-concept. A similar pattern emerged when participants imagined performing actions that varied in self-concept compatibility (Study 4). The authors conclude that on-line judgments of an action's self-concept compatibility affect the perspective used for image construction. Study 5 shows applied implications. Use of the 3rd-person perspective when recalling past episodes of overindulgent eating was related to optimism about behaving differently at an upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The authors discuss the effect of self-concept compatibility on cognitive and emotional reactions to past actions and consider the role of causal attributions in defining the self across time.
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Three classes of evidence demonstrate the existence of life scripts, or culturally shared representations of the timing of major transitional life events. First, a reanalysis of earlier studies on age norms shows an increase in the number of transitional events between the ages of 15 and 30 years, and these events are associated with narrower age ranges and more positive emotion than events outside this period. Second, 1,485 Danes estimated how old hypothetical centenarians were when they had been happiest, saddest, most afraid, most in love, and had their most important and most traumatic experiences. Only the number of positive events showed an increase between the ages of 15 and 30 years. Third, undergraduates generated seven important events that were likely to occur in the life of a newborn. Pleasantness and whether events were expected to occur between the ages of 15 and 30 years predicted how frequently events were recorded. Life scripts provide an alternative explanation of the reminiscence bump. Emphasis is on culture, not individuals.
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As humans, we frequently engage in mental time travel, reliving past experiences and imagining possible future events. This study examined whether similar factors affect the subjective experience associated with remembering the past and imagining the future. Participants mentally "re-experienced" or "pre-experienced" positive and negative events that differed in their temporal distance from the present (close versus distant), and then rated the phenomenal characteristics (i.e., sensorial, contextual, and emotional details) associated with their representations. For both past and future, representations of positive events were associated with a greater feeling of re-experiencing (or pre-experiencing) than representations of negative events. In addition, representations of temporally close events (both past and future) contained more sensorial and contextual details, and generated a stronger feeling of re-experiencing (or pre-experiencing) than representations of temporally distant events. It is suggested that the way we both remember our past and imagine our future is constrained by our current goals.
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Possible selves are representations of the self in the future. Early theoretical accounts of the construct suggested that possible selves directly influence motivation and behavior. We propose an alternative view of possible selves as a component in self-regulatory processes through which motivation and behavior are influenced. We demonstrate the advantages of this conceptualization in two studies that test predictions generated from theoretical models of self-regulation in which the possible selves construct could be embedded. In one study, we show how viewing possible selves as a source of behavioral standards in a control-process model of self-regulation yields support for a set of predictions about the influence of possible selves on current behavior. In the other study, we examine possible selves in the context of an interpersonal model of self-regulation, showing strong evidence of concern for relational value in freely generated hoped-for and feared selves. These findings suggest that the role of possible selves in motivation and behavior can be profitably studied in models that fully specify the process of self-regulation and that those models can be enriched by a consideration of future-oriented self-representations. We offer additional recommendations for strengthening research on possible selves and self-regulation.
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The ability to envision specific future episodes is a ubiquitous mental phenomenon that has seldom been discussed in the neuroscience literature. In this study, subjects underwent functional MRI while using event cues (e.g., Birthday) as a guide to vividly envision a personal future event, remember a personal memory, or imagine an event involving a familiar individual. Two basic patterns of data emerged. One set of regions (e.g., within left lateral premotor cortex; left precuneus; right posterior cerebellum) was more active while envisioning the future than while recollecting the past (and more active in both of these conditions than in the task involving imagining another person). These regions appear similar to those emerging from the literature on imagined (simulated) bodily movements. A second set of regions (e.g., bilateral posterior cingulate; bilateral parahippocampal gyrus; left occipital cortex) demonstrated indistinguishable activity during the future and past tasks (but greater activity in both tasks than the imagery control task); similar regions have been shown to be important for remembering previously encountered visual-spatial contexts. Hence, differences between the future and past tasks are attributed to differences in the demands placed on regions that underlie motor imagery of bodily movements, and similarities in activity for these two tasks are attributed to the reactivation of previously experienced visual–spatial contexts. That is, subjects appear to place their future scenarios in well known visual–spatial contexts. Our results offer insight into the fundamental and little-studied capacity of vivid mental projection of oneself in the future. • autonoetic consciousness • episodic future thought • episodic memory • functional MRI
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It has been suggested that patients with schizophrenia experience a distorted sense of continuity of self across time. However, temporal aspects of self-processing have received little empirical attention in schizophrenia. In this study, the authors investigated schizophrenic patients' ability to generate specific mental images of their personal past and future. Results showed that patients recalled fewer specific past events than did healthy controls and were even more impaired in generating specific future events. These deficits were associated with positive symptoms but were not associated with negative symptoms or with performances on verbal fluency tasks. It is suggested that schizophrenic patients' failures to project themselves into specific past and future episodes might be related to difficulties in retrieving contextual details from memory, as well as disturbance of the sense of subjective time.
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This article examines the effects of memory loss on a patient's ability to remember the past and imagine the future. We present the case of D.B., who, as a result of hypoxic brain damage, suffered severe amnesia for the personally experienced past. By contrast, his knowledge of the nonpersonal past was relatively preserved. A similar pattern was evidenced in his ability to anticipate future events. Although D.B. had great difficulty imagining what his experiences might be like in the future, his capacity to anticipate issues and events in the public domain was comparable to that of neurologically healthy, age-matched controls. These findings suggest that neuropsychological dissociations between episodic and semantic memory for the past also may extend to the ability to anticipate the future.
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
Introduces the concept of possible selves (PSs) to complement current conceptions of self-knowledge. PSs represent individuals' ideas of what they might become, what they would like to become, and what they are afraid of becoming, and thus provide a conceptual link beteen cognition and motivation. PSs are the cognitive components of hopes, fears, goals, and threats; they give the specific self-relevant form, meaning, organization, and direction to these dynamics. It is suggested that PSs function as incentives for future behavior and to provide an evaluative and interpretive context for the current view of self. The nature and function of PSs and their role in addressing several persistent problems (e.g., the stability and malleability of the self, the unity of the self, self-distortion, the relationship between the self-concept and behavior) are discussed. (143 ref)
Article
Examined data from 2 studies that explored the overrepresentation of memories from the adolescent and early adult years in the autobiographical memories of older adults. Study 1 (J. M. Fitzgerald and R. Lawrence [see PA, Vol 72:25091]) asked older Ss to report on autobiographical memories. Study 2 (Fitzgerald [1986]) examined the quality of memories among 51 older adults (aged 62–75 yrs). Results indicate that reminiscence effects reflected the availability of a pool of vivid memories from this era. Possible explanations for the presence of this pool are discussed, including the hypothesis that memories from this era are likely to be involved in a self narrative, a contextualized view of the self composed of stories and tales rather than traits and social roles. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
[argue] that there are no such things as autobiographical memories at least in the sense of discrete, holistic, units in long-term memory / rather, autobiographical memories are conceived as temporary mental representations constructed and maintained by a set of central processes such as the central executive of working memory provide at least an outline sketch of the types of knowledge, processes, and constraints mediating the construction of autobiographical memories / summarize what is known of autobiographical knowledge, how this can be constructed into memories, and how this whole process may become disrupted in neurological disorders of memory / briefly consider the encoding of autobiographical memories and the types of recollective experience characteristic of autobiographical remembering (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Possible selves are cognitive representations of the self in the future that motivate planning and behavior. This study explored possible health selves among rural-dwelling African Americans. Older African American respondents described their hoped-for and feared selves, as well as activities they initiated to achieve or avoid these selves. Three categories of possible selves emerged: health, social, and spiritual. The findings provide a basis for the development of culturally relevant health intervention programs.
Article
Control theory was used to investigate identity microprocesses (i.e., self-verification)within the context of serious dating relationships. Forty-two college women importance for, and certainty about, their future career identities served as targets in the study. The targets and their dating partners participated in a procedure in which the targets received career information that was contrary to their beliefs about their future identities. Results revealed that women who were highly certain about their future career identity, regardless of its importance level, engaged in more self-verification efforts than did women who were uncertain. A comparison of congruent (partner herself) and incongruent dating partners revealed that congruent partners were the most overt in their disagreement with the contrary information. Certainty and partner congruence predicted the target's self-rating change following the identity disruption. Partner congruence accounted for a substantial amount of variance in self-rating change, indicating that close relationships provide an influential context for identity development.
Article
A structural aspect of personal memories was examined in four studies. In some memories, one has the perspective of an observer, seeing oneself “from the outside.” In other memories, one sees the scene from one's own perspective; the field of view in such memories corresponds to that of the original situation. The existence of “observer” and “field” memories was confirmed in Study 1, using a recall questionnaire. In Study 2, the similarity structure of a specified set of eight to-be-recalled situations was established: the significant dimensions were “emotionality” and “self-awareness.” Study 3 related these dimensions to the observer-field distinction; situations involving a high degree of emotion and selfawareness were most likely to be recalled with an observer perspective. Recall set was varied in Study 4: a focus on feelings (as opposed to objective circumstances) produced relatively more field memories. Studies 3 and 4 also showed that events reported as more recent tend to be recalled in the field mode. Thus a qualitative characteristic of personal memories—the perspective from which they are experienced—is apparently related to characteristics of the original event, to the individual's purpose in recalling that event, and to the reported recall interval.
Article
The Self-Memory System (SMS) is a conceptual framework that emphasizes the interconnectedness of self and memory. Within this framework memory is viewed as the data base of the self. The self is conceived as a complex set of active goals and associated self-images, collectively referred to as the working self. The relationship between the working self and long-term memory is a reciprocal one in which autobiographical knowledge constrains what the self is, has been, and can be, whereas the working self-modulates access to long-term knowledge. Specific proposals concerning the role of episodic memories and autobiographical knowledge in the SMS, their function in defining the self, the neuroanatomical basis of the system, its development, relation to consciousness, and possible evolutionary history are considered with reference to current and new findings as well as to findings from the study of impaired autobiographical remembering.
Article
In this paper, we discuss the construct of episodic future thinking. We have previously defined episodic future thinking as the ability to project oneself into the future to pre-experience an event (Atance & O’Neill, 2001). We distinguish this type of thinking about the future from that which is largely based on a script of how an event routinely unfolds (e.g., a restaurant or birthday party script). This distinction is related to the episodic/semantic distinction that has been applied to memory (Tulving, 1972). We discuss tasks, both verbal and nonverbal, that we have developed for young children, and that we believe assess episodic future thinking. Based on our findings from these tasks, we conclude that episodic future thinking emerges between 3 and 4 years of age. Throughout the paper, we attempt to specify the nature of the projection associated with episodic future thinking by elaborating upon how children’s behavior in the tasks we discuss, as well as their behaviors in other contexts, are a reflection of this projection.
Article
Proposes a ternary classificatory scheme of memory in which procedural, semantic, and episodic memory constitute a monohierarchical arrangement. In this scheme, episodic memory is a specialized subsystem of semantic memory, which in turn is a specialized subsystem of procedural memory. The 3 memory systems differ from one another in a number of ways, including the kind of consciousness that characterizes their operations. The ternary scheme overlaps with dichotomies and trichotomies of memory proposed by others. Evidence for multiple systems is reviewed, and illustrative data are provided from experiments. Direct priming effects were found to be both functionally and stochastically independent of recognition memory. (100 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)