Reference : Reconstructing the times of past and future personal events
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Theoretical & cognitive psychology
Reconstructing the times of past and future personal events
Ben Malek, Mohamed Hedi mailto [Université de Liège - ULg > > > Form. doct. sc. psycho. & éduc. (paysage)]
Berna, Fabrice []
D'Argembeau, Arnaud mailto [Université de Liège > Département de Psychologie > Psychopathologie cognitive >]
Taylor & Francis Ltd
Yes (verified by ORBi)
United Kingdom
[en] time ; autobiographical memory ; episodic future thinking ; goals
[en] Humans have the remarkable ability to mentally travel through past and future times. However,
while memory for the times of past events has been much investigated, little is known about
how imagined future events are temporally located. Using a think-aloud protocol, we found
that the temporal location of past and future events is rarely directly accessed, but instead
mostly relies on reconstructive and inferential strategies. References to lifetime periods and
factual knowledge (about the self, others, and the world) were most frequently used to
determine the temporal location of both past and future events. Event details (e.g., places,
persons, or weather conditions) were also used, but mainly for past events. Finally, the results
showed that events whose temporal location was directly accessed were judged more
important for personal goals. Together, these findings shed new light on the mechanisms
involved in locating personal events in past and future times.

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