In young adults, valence not only alters the degree to which future events are imagined in rich episodic detail, but also how memorable these events are later on. For older adults, how valence influences episodic detail generation while imagining future events, or recalling these details at another time, remains unclear. We investigated the effect of valence on the specificity and memorability of episodic future thinking (EFT) in young and older adults. Among young and older adults, negative EFT was accompanied by less episodic detail generation relative to positive and neutral EFT. A similar reduction in episodic specificity for negative EFT was found two days later when participants recalled their previously imagined events. Notably, while older adults generated less episodically specific future thoughts relative to young adults, age did not influence the effect of valence on episodic detail generation at imagination or recollection.
- Episodic future thinking
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology