Prospection, well-being and memory

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Prospection (mental representation of the future) is an aspect of imagination that has recently become a focus of attention for researchers on memory. Evidence from a variety of sources points to episodic memory and future-thinking as being very closely linked and both are connected to well-being and mental health. This article provides an overview of some key findings linking episodic memory, future-thinking and well-being. Similarities and differences between episodic memories for the past and thoughts about the future are reviewed. It is suggested that the uncertainty inherent in future-thinking implies a greater role for semantic memory in how people think about the future compared to how they remember the past. Understanding how semantic and episodic knowledge combine to create representations about the future has the potential to help elucidate ways in which people experiencing psychological distress think about the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-274
Number of pages9
JournalMemory Studies
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • future-directed thinking; prospection; well-being; memory

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