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Mem Cognit. 2011 Aug;39(6):954-67. doi: 10.3758/s13421-011-0076-1.

Imagining the near and far future: the role of location familiarity.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA. kathleen.arnold@wustl.edu

Abstract

Plausible personal events envisioned as occurring in the near future tend to be reported as more vivid than those set in the far future. Why is this? The present set of three experiments identified one's familiarity with the location in which the event is placed as critical in this regard. Specifically, Experiment 1 demonstrated that amongst a wide range of phenomenological characteristics, clarity of location appears to drive the overall difference in vividness between events imagined to take place in the near and the far future. Experiments 2 and 3 were designed to further elucidate this finding. Experiment 2 demonstrated that near future events are more likely than far future events to be imagined in familiar locations. Experiment 3 showed that future events set in familiar locations tend to be imagined with greater clarity than those set in unfamiliar locations. The results of all three experiments converge on the conclusion that the difference in vividness of events imagined as occurring in the near and far future is mediated by one's familiarity with the location in which the event is imagined to occur.

PMID:
21312016
DOI:
10.3758/s13421-011-0076-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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