Episodic simulation of past and future events in older adults: Evidence from an experimental recombination task

Psychol Aging. 2010 Jun;25(2):369-76. doi: 10.1037/a0017280.


We recently reported that older adults generate fewer episodic details than younger adults when remembering past events and when simulating future events. We suggested that the simulation findings reveal an age deficit in recombining episodic details into novel events, but they could also result from older adults "recasting" entire past events as future events. In this study, we used an experimental recombination paradigm to prevent recasting while imagining and to compare imagining the future with imagining the past. Older adults generated fewer episodic details for imagined and recalled events than younger adults, thereby extending the age-related simulation deficit to conditions of recombination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Association*
  • Cues
  • Emotions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imagination*
  • Internal-External Control
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Retention, Psychology
  • Young Adult