University of Twente Student Theses


Gebruik van episodische en semantische toekomstverbeelding : van autobiografie naar brieven vanuit de toekomst.

Dalfsen, B.A. van (2014) Gebruik van episodische en semantische toekomstverbeelding : van autobiografie naar brieven vanuit de toekomst.

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Abstract:Neurological and cognitive studies have shown that looking back to the past relies on the same cognitive and neurological mechanisms as mental constructions of potential future experiences. A distinction can be made between episodic and semantic memories, but this distinction has not yet been made for ‘futuring’ (imagining the future). An instrument capable of differentiating in a narrative form between episodic/semantic, could give form and content to results of neurological research, adding to not only the potential psychological study, but also possessing a substantial area of study within neuroscience. Futuring has been studied in previous research, by using letters from the future. Research concerning memories has also used narrative data, but in the form of transcribed interviews. These interviews have been analysed using the standardised autobiographical interview scoring manual, by which the amount of semantic and episodic contents of the narratives are measured. The present explorative study researches whether the scoring manual can be used for the analysis of letters from the future. Toward that end, the life story lab has collected 480 letters from the future. Earlier research has discovered that, among these letters, six types of futuring can be distinguished. For the present study, 30 letters were included; 5 of each type in order to represent the full width of futuring, and used to determine which types of futuring were more episodic or more semantic by nature. Following implementation of some alterations, the scoring manual turned out to be an effective instrument to analyse episodic and semantic writing in letters from the future. The six types of futuring differed significantly, and after further analyses, types 1 (retrospective evaluation), 3 (expressive imagining) and 4 (looking back to the past) were found to form an episodic cluster, and types 2 (prospective orientation), 5 (prospective intentional orientation) and 6 (advising), a semantic cluster. The altered scoring manual offers narrative psychology the possibility of participating in memory research. The distinction episodic/semantic can also be made for futuring, which is another indication for the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis. Episodic memory in its biological operation permits an individual to mentally travel through time. Therefore, the distinction episodic/semantic can be made in showing how far someone is capable of mentally traveling through time and in remembering the past and imagining the future. Future research could study when, within an individual therapy, a therapist and his/her client best lay their focus on understanding and accepting the past, imagining the future or on both. These insights could further aid the mental healthcare sector to make effective indications of where clients stand when it comes to futuring and what kinds of narrative futuring can best be stimulated.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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