The extent to which the mind can be stretched to exhaust its limits is immeasurable. In psychology, there are different facets that are considered that help to demystify the mysteries of the mind. In this study, there is a review of three articles in relation to cognitive psychology. The articles selected are all based on future thinking. In all the three articles selected there is use of/ reference to episodic future thoughts. In these research works, the authors try to find various relationship that exist and those that can be used to explain certain occurrences in people as they project into the future by temporarily leaving their current environment and perceive the future. In all the articles being reviewed, it is evident that the works of Schacter and Addis (2007) seemingly lays the foundation for future thinking research. The research is two-faceted in that there is a PowerPoint presenting the summary outline in addition to this article summary.
Article One: (Szpunar, 2010)
Background and Rationale
Szpunar (2010) starts by noting that the capacity of the mind to think of an event, which is yet to be (or perceived to be) encountered in future is the episodic future thought that involves a great deal of memory (re)organization in a flexible manner (p. 531). From this research, there is an enormous literature reference that support episodic future thought. According to Schacter and Addis (2007; Szpunar, 2010, p. 531), thoughts that pertain to an individual’s future is associated with constructive episodic simulation, whereby there is reference of that individual’s past experiences for generation of novel scenarios in the future. This knowledge has found extensive application in psychology, neurology, nursing among other fields (Szpunar, 2010, p. 531 +).
In the research, the patient is presented with a couple of words like dress, an event for example a birthday and time frame, for instance one week. This is followed by a participant’s creation of a scenario using these cued words and events to make episodic future thoughts as these events might occur in the future (Szpunar, 2010, p. 532).
The research takes thirty participants in their undergraduate studies for each of the three variables thus making a total of ninety (Szpunar, 2010, p. 533). Of these participants, two-thirds come from Washington University in St Louis while the remaining one-third from Iowa State University (Szpunar, 2010, p. 533). The three variables are the social group, control group and the Academic group (Szpunar, 2010, p. 533). For material requirement the participants had to construct sentences, perform some mathematical calculations and finally provide episodic thoughts using provided 30 scrambled words (Szpunar, 2010, p. 533).
It is clear that there exists a relationship between episodic future thought and implicit memory processes in two identifiable respects: First, thoughts on an individual’s future to some extent are influenced by past experiences/ recent thought that is readily accessible (Szpunar, 2010, p. 537). Secondly and supposedly most important is the fact that during this period of assessment, the participant ought to be totally unaware of the underlying influence (Szpunar, 2010, p. 537). It is also good to note that these findings concur with other available literature and the implications therein (Szpunar, 2010, p. 537).
In conclusion, it is noted that the current research is supposed to act as a prerequisite for further research for holistic understanding of human mind’s capacity in terms of its potential for (re)organization and flexibility especially personal future episodes construction (Szpunar, 2010, p. 538). The construction of future episodic future thoughts is found to be implicitly related to memory processes.
Article Two: (D’Argembeau, et al., 2010)
Background and Rationale
In D’Argembeau et al. (2010), it is noted that the human mind has a remarkable feature such that it has the capability to momentarily disengage from its current environment in an effort to contemplate on a hypothetical future scenario (p. 809). D’Argembeau et al. (2010) continues to clarify that the capacity that the mind has for envisioning the possibility of future events is what can best describe future thinking (p. 809). As noted earlier on the works of Schacter and Addis (2010), the same notion on future projection of the mind to create perceived scenic events in the future is affected by recent thought pattern and the experiences of the individual taking part in this activity (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 810).
In this research, D’Argembeau et al. (2010) argue that future thinking is possibly influenced by more than one event. In their case, it is noted that there are multiple component processes that include the executive control processes, visual-spatial processes, and subject time apprehension, working memory, relational processes and self-consciousness (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 810). The main assumption in their work is the fact that individual component processes affects the mind’s imaginative future events and can best be explained by assessing their individual effect on the thought process and the underlying ability (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 810).
In the research work there was consideration of one hundred young adults of which females constituted forty nine with an age bracket between eighteen and thirty years of age (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 811). All participants were native French speakers and none of the selected participants has any record of psychiatric or neurological disorder (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 811). There were four measures that were considered in the analysis that consisted of fluency, amount of episodic details, specificity and the rating for phenomenological characteristics (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 811). Additionally more cognitive tasks were employed to measure executive functioning, visual-spatial processing, working memory, planning and relational memory.
It was found out that executive processes are involved in representing as well as accessing autobiographical knowledge (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 816). For unique episodes to be generated there is a higher demand for executive processes that focus more on the future than on the past. These findings are supported by regression analysis on visual-spatial processing abilities of the situation especially when it comes to prediction of the amount of sensory details that are generated as the imagination process progresses for future events.
In conclusion, it is evidential that future thinking comprises of processes related to various aspects of future-event representation that include fluency, episodic details, specificity and phenomenological characteristics (D’Argembeau et al., 2010, p. 817).
Article Three: (Berntsen and Bohn, 2010)
Background and Rationale
Berntsen and Bohn (2010) start by defining what episodic future thinking is, where it is noted as the projection of the self from the present life into the future such that there is a mental experience of an event in the future (p. 265). Citing already published works that give details on the relationship between episodic future thinking and autobiographical memory, there is evidence of similarity in their findings. Berntsen and Bohn (2010) continue to note that the aforementioned processes share neurocognitive systems (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010, p. 265). It is noted that past events as compared to their future event counterparts, are more sensorially vivid and their relevance as far as life stories as well as identity is concerned is much lower (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010, p. 265).
Berntsen and Bohn (2010) continue to note that past research has shown that there exists a clear relationship as far as episodic future thinking and episodic remembering is concerned although there is limited literature on the subject (p. 266). In their argument, Berntsen and Bohn (2010) note that the existing difference between the aforementioned facets is due to the fact that episodic memories refers to experienced events that have been coded such that past reasoning unlike future thinking, is highly influenced by known factors (p. 266) that tend to influence coding as well as maintenance with a good example being emotional arousal and the importance accorded (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010, p. 266).
The research considers one hundred and twenty two psychology students of which one hundred and three were females with a mean age of 26.53 years within the range of twenty one through forty seven years (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010, p. 268). The study was conducted as part of the students’ teaching course. There were four event conditions that were allocated in a random manner that included important past, word-cued past, important future and word-cued future (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010, p. 268) that were presented as blocks of five events making a total of twenty events (Berntsen & Bohn, 2010, p. 268).
In conclusion, it is evident that a closer reexamination of the interrelationship between episodic remembering and episodic future thinking indicates delineation of the processes that tend to deepen the past understanding as far as contribution of these events on individual disorders is concerned.
Berntsen, D., & Bohn, A. (2010). Remembering and forecasting: The relation between autobiographical memory and episodic future thinking. Memory & Cognition (Pre-2011), 38(3), 265-78. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/89214525?accountid=45049
D’Argembeau, A., Ortoleva, C., Jumentier, S., & Van, d. L. (2010). Component processes underlying future thinking. Memory & Cognition (Pre-2011), 38(6), 809-19. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/755630128?accountid=45049
Schacter, D. L., & Addis, D. R. (2007). The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: Remembering the past and imagining the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 362, 773-786.
Szpunar, K. K. (2010). Evidence for an implicit influence of memory on future thinking. Memory & Cognition (Pre-2011), 38(5), 531-40. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/650556071?accountid=45049