Memory & Cognition

, Volume 38, Issue 6, pp 809–819 | Cite as

Component processes underlying future thinking

  • Arnaud D’Argembeau
  • Claudia Ortoleva
  • Sabrina Jumentier
  • Martial Van der Linden


This study sought to investigate the component processes underlying the ability to imagine future events, using an individual-differences approach. Participants completed several tasks assessing different aspects of future thinking (i.e., fluency, specificity, amount of episodic details, phenomenology) and were also assessed with tasks and questionnaires measuring various component processes that have been hypothesized to support future thinking (i.e., executive processes, visual—spatial processing, relational memory processing, self-consciousness, and time perspective). The main results showed that executive processes were correlated with various measures of future thinking, whereas visual-spatial processing abilities and time perspective were specifically related to the number of sensory descriptions reported when specific future events were imagined. Furthermore, individual differences in self-consciousness predicted the subjective feeling of experiencing the imagined future events. These results suggest that future thinking involves a collection of processes that are related to different facets of future-event representation.


Future Event Autobiographical Memory Component Process Executive Process Future Time Perspective 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arnaud D’Argembeau
    • 1
  • Claudia Ortoleva
    • 2
  • Sabrina Jumentier
    • 2
  • Martial Van der Linden
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Cognitive Sciences, Centre for Cognitive and Behavioral NeuroscienceUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium
  2. 2.University of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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