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Episodic future thinking: linking neuropsychological performance with episodic detail in young and old adults

Cole, S. N., Morrison, C. M. & Conway, M. A. (2013). Episodic future thinking: linking neuropsychological performance with episodic detail in young and old adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(9), pp. 1687-1706. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2012.758157


Episodic future thinking (EFT) has been linked with our ability to remember past events. However, its specific neurocognitive subprocesses have remained elusive. In Experiment 1, a study of healthy older adults was conducted to investigate the candidate subprocesses of EFT. Participants completed a standard EFT cue word task, two memory measures (Verbal Paired Associates I, Source Memory), and two measures of executive function (Trail Making Test, Tower Test). In Experiment 2, healthy young adults also completed an EFT task and neuropsychological measures. The link between neurocognitive measures and five characteristics of EFT was investigated. Specifically, it was found that Source Memory and Trail Making Test performance predicted the episodic specificity of future events in older but not younger adults. Replicating previous findings, older adults produced future events with greater semantic but fewer episodic details than did young adults. These results extend the data and emphasize the importance of the multiple subprocesses underlying EFT.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology on 26 Feb 2013, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Episodic future thinking, Source memory, Executive function, Episodic memory, Imagination
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Amnesia Full Paper Revision April 2015.docx] Text - Accepted Version
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