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The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: remembering the past and imagining the future
 

Summary: 3
The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory:
remembering the past and imagining the future
Daniel L. Schacter* and Donna Rose Addis
Episodic memory is widely conceived as a fundamentally constructive, rather than reproductive,
process that is prone to various kinds of errors and illusions. With a view towards examining the
functions served by a constructive episodic memory system, we consider recent neuropsychologi-
cal and neuroimaging studies indicating that some types of memory distortions reflect the opera-
tion of adaptive processes. An important function of a constructive episodic memory is to allow
individuals to simulate or imagine future episodes, happenings and scenarios. Since the future is
not an exact repetition of the past, simulation of future episodes requires a system that can draw
on the past in a manner that flexibly extracts and recombines elements of previous experiences.
Consistent with this constructive episodic simulation hypothesis, we consider cognitive,
neuropsychological and neuroimaging evidence showing that there is considerable overlap in the
psychological and neural processes involved in remembering the past and imagining the future.
Keywords: constructive memory; false recognition; mental simulation; neuroimaging; amnesia;
Alzheimer's disease;
3.1 Introduction
The analysis of human memory comprises a variety of approaches, conceptual frameworks,
theoretical ideas and empirical findings. Despite the wealth of contrasting and sometimes

  

Source: Addis, Donna Rose - Department of Psychology, University of Auckland

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine