Visual perspective in remembering and episodic future thought

Kathleen B. McDermott, Cynthia L. Wooldridge, Heather J. Rice, Jeffrey J. Berg, Karl K. Szpunar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


According to the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis, remembering and episodic future thinking are supported by a common set of constructive processes. In the present study, we directly addressed this assertion in the context of third-person perspectives that arise during remembering and episodic future thought. Specifically, we examined the frequency with which participants remembered past events or imagined future events from third-person perspectives. We also examined the different viewpoints from which third-person perspective events were remembered or imagined. Although future events were somewhat more likely to be imagined from a third-person perspective, the spatial viewpoint distributions of third-person perspectives characterizing remembered and imagined events were highly similar. These results suggest that a similar constructive mechanism may be at work when people remember events from a perspective that could not have been experienced in the past and when they imagine events from a perspective that could not be experienced in the future. The findings are discussed in terms of their consistency with—and as extensions of—the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-253
Number of pages11
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Autobiographical memory
  • Episodic future thought
  • Mental time travel
  • Simulation
  • Visual perspective


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