Zooming in and out on one’s life: Autobiographical representations at multiple time scales

Arnaud D’Argembeau (Department of Psychology, University of Liège)

28.04.2020 – 16.00 – 17.00 – (lecture, followed by an extended discussion)

Online Lecture via zoom
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Meeting ID: 388 855 144 Password: 012872

The ability to decouple from the present to explore other times –
mental time travel – is a central feature of the human mind. Research
in cognitive psychology and neuroscience has shown that
personal experiences in the past and future are represented at
multiple timescales and levels of resolution, from broad lifetime
periods that span years to short-time slices of experience that
span seconds.
In this talk, I will propose a theoretical framework for understanding
mental time travel as the capacity to flexibly navigate hierarchical
layers of autobiographical representations. On this view,
past and future thoughts rely on two main systems – event simulation
and autobiographical knowledge – that allow us to represent
experiential contents that are decoupled from sensory input
and to place these on a personal timeline scaffolded from conceptual
knowledge of the content and structure of our life.