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A brighter future : the effect of positive episodic simulation on future predictions in non-depressed, moderately dysphoric & highly dysphoric individuals

Boland, Jennifer; Riggs, Kevin J.; Anderson, Rachel J.


Jennifer Boland


Previous research suggests depressed individuals have difficulties with future directed cognitions. For instance, compared with non-depressed individuals, they predict positive events are less likely to occur. Recent work suggests that episodic simulation of positive futures may represent a useful strategy for improving prospective predictions. The current studies investigated positive future episodic simulation as a method of modifying predictions regarding the likelihood of occurrence, perceived control, and importance of positive and negative future events. Experiment 1 compared positive episodic simulation to a neutral visualization task in a non-clinical sample. Predictions regarding future events were rated more positively after the use of positive episodic simulation but not as a result of neutral visualization. Experiment 2 extended these findings to show that future episodic simulation can be used to modify predictions, for both positive and negative events, in individuals experiencing significant levels of dysphoric mood and depressive symptoms. Taken together, these findings suggest that training in positive episodic future simulation can improve future outlook and may represent a useful tool within cognitive therapeutic techniques.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2018-01
Journal Behaviour research and therapy
Print ISSN 0005-7967
Electronic ISSN 1873-622X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 100
Pages 7-16
Keywords Future thinking; Prospection; Bias modification; Mental time travel
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript of an article published in Behaviour research and therapy, 2018. The version of record is available at the DOI link in this record.