Wait, But Why? Increasing Coherence and Detail of Future Events Through Elaboration
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The present study aimed at testing the efficacy of elaborative interrogation on boosting the coherence and detail with which people imagine personal future events. Participants in two experiments were asked to imagine future events based off a Person-Location-Object cue triad. The cues in the triad were either related by virtue of being from the same social circle (i.e. Person-Location-Object from "school", or "same-circle" cues) or unrelated to one another (i.e. Person from "School", Location from "Family", and Object from "Office", or "mixed-circle" cues). In Experiment 1, participants engaged in elaborative interrogation by generating reasons why a given "Person" would be found in a future event at a given "Location," before mentally simulating an event comprised of the Person, Location, and an additional Object. In Experiment 2, participants engaged in cue-independent elaborative interrogation before mentally simulating any future events. Participants were also given cued and free recall memory tasks at the end of both experiments to test potential memory effects of elaboration on the future event cues. While the elaborative interrogation strategy did not increase detail of future events in both experiments, Experiment 1 found effects of elaboration on increasing coherence, as well as memory benefits for elaborated events. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Subjectepisodic future thinking