Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Episodic elaboration: Investigating the structure of retrieved past events and imagined future events

Anderson, Rachel J.; Peters, Lien; Dewhurst, Stephen A.


Lien Peters


Five experiments investigated the cognitive processes involved in the elaboration of past and future events. A production listing procedure was used, in which participants listed details of each event in forwards chronological order, backwards chronological order, or free order. For both past and future events, forwards and free ordering conditions were reliably faster than backwards order. Production rates between past and future temporal directions did not differ in Experiments 1a, 1b, and 3. However, in Experiment 2, the elaboration of future events was faster than the elaboration of past events. This pattern can be explained by the findings of Experiment 4, in which production rates were faster for likely events than for unlikely events but only in the future condition. Overall, the findings suggest that the elaboration of future, but not past, events, is facilitated when constructed around current goals.


Anderson, R. J., Peters, L., & Dewhurst, S. A. (2015). Episodic elaboration: Investigating the structure of retrieved past events and imagined future events. Consciousness and cognition, 33(1), 112-124.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 23, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2014
Publication Date May 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jul 29, 2015
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Consciousness and cognition
Print ISSN 1053-8100
Electronic ISSN 1053-8100
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 1
Pages 112-124
Keywords Mental time travel, Episodic memory, Future simulation, Executive resources, Event likelihood, Goals
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Authors' accepted manuscript of article published in: Consciousness and cognition, 2015, v.33 at


You might also like

Downloadable Citations