Autobiographical Memory in Adults - MINDLab


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Autobiographical Memory in Adults


The principal aim of this study is to examine involuntary vs. voluntary mental time travel for future vs. past events. Our work has shown that involuntary mental time travel is as common as its voluntary counterpart in daily life and that it typically happens when attention is not concentrated, consistent with the idea of a default brain network that takes over when the immediate situation poses little demands1. We have shown that involuntary time travel normally is instigated by features (cues) in the present situation that match central details of the memory. We have shown systematic differences between the involuntary and voluntary mode with regard to emotional qualities and level of specificity (e.g., Berntsen & Hall, 2004). We have argued that the involuntary mode is an evolutionary forerunner of the voluntary mode (Berntsen, in press). We expand our previous work in three ways: (1) Our focus has been on involuntary past mental time travel. We now include systematic studies on the future counterpart, already successfully pioneered in our group (Berntsen & Jacobsen, 2008). (2) We now supplement naturalistic studies with lab experiments to measure reaction time and to manipulate encoding and cuing conditions systematically. (3) Some laboratory experiments will be replicated in brain scanning experiments with the goal of identifying the neural correlates for the four forms of mental time travel. This work is conducted in collaboration with David C. Rubin and Peggy St. Jacque who are currently at Duke University.

1) Mazoyer, B., et al. Brain Research Bulletin, 54: 287-298 (2001). 2) Nelson, K. & Fivush, R.:. Psychological Review, 111: 486-511 (2004). 3) Bruce, D. et al.: Memory & Cognition, 33: 567-576 (2004).


Name   E-mail   


Berntsen, Dorthe   8716 5868
Rasmussen Scharling, Anne    8716 5293

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Revised 7-5-2012