Individual differences in the phenomenology of mental time travel: The effect of vivid visual imagery and emotion regulation strategies

Consciousness and Cognition 15 (2):342-350 (2006)
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It has been claimed that the ability to remember the past and the ability to project oneself into the future are intimately related. We sought support for this proposition by examining whether individual differences in dimensions that have been shown to affect memory for past events similarly influence the experience of projecting oneself into the future. We found that individuals with a higher capacity for visual imagery experienced more visual and other sensory details both when remembering past events and when imagining future events. In addition, individuals who habitually use suppression to regulate their emotions experienced fewer sensory, contextual, and emotional details when representing both past and future events, while the use of reappraisal had no effect on either kind of events. These findings are consistent with the view that mental time travel into the past and into the future relies on similar mechanisms



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