Future Episodic Thinking 2 Lec 13 Notes
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Future Episodic Thinking (2) What is the theoretical link between episodic memory & episodic future thinking?
Narrative Ability Episodic Simulation Theory Scene Construction Theory
Narrative Ability Race et al (2011)
Investigated the nature + necessity of the MTL in imagining the future +
tested the novel hypothesis that the MTL contributes to future thinking by supporting online binding processes related to narrative construction Amnesic patients with MTL damage + healthy controls constructed narratives about 1) future events, 2) past events, 3) visually presented pictures
- Measure mean no.of episodic details recorded All three tasks place similar demands on narrative construction - only past
+ future require memory/future episodic thinking to generate narrative construction Amnesic patients produced impoverished descriptions of both past +
future events - BUT unimpaired at producing detailed picture narratives Future thinking performance positively correlated with episodic memory performance but did not correlated with narrative pic performance
- Arguably strong evidence that a common MTL mechanism supports both EM + EFT
Ability to generate + maintain a detailed narrative is preserved in amnesia - suggests a common MTL mechanism supports both EM + E future thinking
Argues against deficits in higher order processes related to narrative construction as the underlying cause of future thinking impairments in amnesia
Squire et al (2010) challenges view that EM + EFT rely on the same MTL mechanism
Demonstrated that amnesic patients with MTL damage can imagine future events as well as controls
- Concluded that MTL not necessary for future thinking - prior reports of impaired future thinking in amnesia reflect neural damage outside the MTL
- HOWEVER Squire's patients did not demonstrate pervasive autobiographical memory loss - suggests the extent of future thinking +
memory impairments in amnesia may be related
Fact that Race et al (2011)found pos correlation between EM + EFT =>
suggestive that a common MTL mechanism underlies both functions EPISODIC SIMULATION THEORY Schacter & Addis (2007)
EM is widely seen as a constructive process - rather than reproductive process prone to various kinds of errors + illusions
The constructive nature of EM is highly adaptive for performing a major function of this system to draw on past experiences in a way that allows us to imagine + simulate episodes which may occur in our personal future
A number of researchers have recognised that information about past experiences is useful only to the extent that it allows us to anticipate what may happen in the future (Suddendorf & Busby, 2003) also Anderson &
Schooler's (1991) analysis of adaptive forgetting supports the idea that info about the past is retained when it is likely to be used in the future
Future events are rarely exact replicas of past events - memory system which simply stored rote records of what happened in the past - would not be suited to stimulating future events
Suggest a system built upon constructive principles is better suited to stimulating future happenings draw on elements of the past + retain the general sense of what has happened
simulation related processes such as EM , future thinking + scene construction all require the extraction of relevant episodic details from memory + the recombination of these details for form fictitious simulations of novel scenes it is this process that depends on the integrity of the hippocampus
One important function of retaining personal memories is that aspects of prev experienced events are used in envisioning future events in similar settings
System can flexibly extract, recombine, + reassemble these elements in a way that allows us to stimulate , imagine or pre-experience events which have never occurred previously in the exact form we imagine them
This theory endorses Suddendorf & Busby's (2003) suggestion that "episodic reconstruction is just an adaptive feature of the future planning system"
This is CONSTRUCTIVE EPSIODIC SIMUTLATION HYPOTHESIS
- For this theory to have merit then remembering the past + imaging the future should show a no of similar characteristics + depend on the same neural substrates
- Also suggests that the quality of future thinking will depend on the quality of the EM on which it is based
The importance of vivid + relevant memory are experienced as less vivid
More remote memories have less perceptual details More distant future events are also less detailed + vivid e.g. if asked to imagine a holiday you would take next summer - this would be a more vivid representation that if asked to imagine a holiday you would take when you reach 60.
Szpunar & McDermott (2008)
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