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Reading: Medial Temporal Lobe Contributions to Future Thinking: Evidence from Neuroimaging and Amnesia

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Research Article

Medial Temporal Lobe Contributions to Future Thinking: Evidence from Neuroimaging and Amnesia

Authors:

Mieke Verfaellie ,

Memory Disorders Research Center, VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, US
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Elizabeth Race,

Memory Disorders Research Center, VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, US
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Margaret M Keane

Department of Psychology, Wellesley College; Memory Disorders Research Center, VA Boston Healthcare System and Boston University School of Medicine, US
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Abstract

Following early amnesic case reports, there is now considerable evidence suggesting a link between remembering the past and envisioning the future. This link is evident in the overlap in neural substrates as well as cognitive processes involved in both kinds of tasks. While constructing a future narrative requires multiple processes, neuroimaging and lesion data converge on a critical role for the medial temporal lobes (MTL) in retrieving and recombining details from memory in the service of novel simulations. Deficient detail retrieval and recombination may lead to impairments not only in episodic, but also in semantic prospection. MTL contributions to scene construction and mental time travel may further compound impairments in amnesia on tasks that pose additional demands on these processes, but are unlikely to form the core deficit underlying amnesics' cross-domain future thinking impairment. Future studies exploring the role of episodic memory in other forms of self-projection or future-oriented behaviour may elucidate further the adaptive role of memory.
How to Cite: Verfaellie, M., Race, E. & Keane, M.M., (2012). Medial Temporal Lobe Contributions to Future Thinking: Evidence from Neuroimaging and Amnesia. Psychologica Belgica. 52(2-3), pp.77–94. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb-52-2-3-77
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Published on 01 Sep 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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