Influence of outcome valence in the subjective experience of episodic past, future, and counterfactual thinking.

Journal Article

Recent findings suggest that our capacity to imagine the future depends on our capacity to remember the past. However, the extent to which episodic memory is involved in our capacity to think about what could have happened in our past, yet did not occur (i.e., episodic counterfactual thinking), remains largely unexplored. The current experiments investigate the phenomenological characteristics and the influence of outcome valence on the experience of past, future and counterfactual thoughts. Participants were asked to mentally simulate past, future, and counterfactual events with positive or negative outcomes. Features of their subjective experiences during each type of simulation were measured using questionnaires and autobiographical interviews. The results suggest that clarity and vividness were higher for past than future and counterfactual simulations. Additionally, emotional intensity was lower for counterfactual simulations than past and future simulations. Finally, outcome valence influenced participants' judgment of probability for future and counterfactual simulations.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • De Brigard, F; Giovanello, KS

Published Date

  • September 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 1085 - 1096

PubMed ID

  • 22818200

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1090-2376

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1053-8100

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.concog.2012.06.007

Language

  • eng