Escaping the Past: Contributions of the Hippocampus to Future Thinking and Imagination



The hippocampus has long been of interest to memory researchers, but recent studies have also implicated the hippocampus in various aspects of future thinking and imagination. Here we provide an overview of relevant studies and ideas that have attempted to characterize the contributions of the hippocampus to future thinking and imagination, focusing mainly on neuroimaging studies conducted in our laboratories that have been concerned with episodic simulation or the construction of a detailed mental representation of a possible experience. We briefly describe a multi-component model of hippocampal contributions to episodic simulation, and also consider the hippocampal contributions in the context of a recent taxonomy that distinguishes several forms of future thinking.


Episodic Memory Future Event Autobiographical Memory Amnesic Patient Hippocampal Activity 
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.



Preparation of this chapter was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH060941 and National Institute on Aging Grant AG08441 to DLS and Rutherford Discovery Fellowship (RDF-10-UOA-024) to DRA.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Center for Brain ScienceHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.School of Psychology and Centre for Brain ResearchThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Illinois-ChicagoChicagoUSA

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