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Episodic Future Thought: Contributions From Working Memory

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Paul Faxon Hill (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/
Advisor
Lisa Emery

Abstract: Increasing evidence from several domains of research indicates that similar neurocognitive mechanisms underlie both the ability to remember the past and the ability to imagine novel future events. An emerging hypothesis accounting for these similarities suggests that the contents of episodic memory are retrieved and then recombined to provide the source material when mentally simulating future events. Accordingly, executive processes may play a key role in the strategic retrieval and binding of past episodes into a unitary future event representation. I investigated the extent to which individual differences in working memory capacity contributed to the ability to imagine future autobiographical events. College students completed measures of working and short-term memory and were cued to recall autobiographical memories and imagine future autobiographical events consisting of varying levels of specificity (i.e., ranging from generic to increasingly specific and detailed events). The results indicated that future thought was related to performance on measures of autobiographical memory, which likely reflects similar retrieval demands associated with both past and future oriented autobiographical tasks. In addition, after controlling for autobiographical memory, residual working memory variance only independently predicted future specificity. I suggest a specialized functional role of working memory when imagining specific future events.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Hill, P.F. (2012). Episodic Future Thought: Contributions From Working Memory. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2012
Keywords
Episodic Memory, Episodic Future Thought, Working Memory, Mental Time Travel, Executive Function