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Reviews in the Neurosciences

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Volume 30, Issue 1


A review on future episodic thinking in mood and anxiety disorders

Ahmed A. Moustafa
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, 2 Bullecourt Road, Milperra 2214, New South Wales, Australia
  • Marcs Institute for Brain, Behaviour, and Development, Western Sydney University, Locked Bag 1797, Sydney 2751, New South Wales, Australia
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Alejandro N. Morris
  • School of Social Sciences and Psychology, Western Sydney University, 2 Bullecourt Road, Milperra 2214, New South Wales, Australia
  • Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 52, P.O. Box 9555, 2300 RB Leiden, The Netherlands
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Mohamad ElHaj
  • Sciences Cognitives et Sciences Affectives (SCALab), Université Lille, CNRS, CHU Lille, UMR 9193, F-59000 Lille, France
  • Unité de Gériatrie, Centre Hospitalier de Tourcoing, F-59000 Tourcoing, France
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-06-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2017-0055


Future episodic thinking refers to the ability to imagine oneself in the future and project oneself into specific future events. This cognitive process is related to decision making and planning for the future. Although healthy populations commonly project themselves into the future (e.g. while planning a trip or career), patients with mood disorders show impairment in this ability. In this review article, we discuss the similarities and differences in future thinking among the following populations: major depressive disorder, dysphoria, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Importantly, we highlight the methodological variations in future episodic memory tasks in the literature that may explain the differences in the existing results.

Keywords: anxiety; depression; dysphoria; emotional valence; future thinking; phenomenology; PTSD


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About the article

aAhmed A. Moustafa and Alejandro N. Morris: These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received: 2017-07-16

Accepted: 2018-03-22

Published Online: 2018-06-02

Published in Print: 2018-12-19

Citation Information: Reviews in the Neurosciences, Volume 30, Issue 1, Pages 85–94, ISSN (Online) 2191-0200, ISSN (Print) 0334-1763, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/revneuro-2017-0055.

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