Counterfactual thinking in patients with amnesia.
Bottom Line: They could deconstruct reality, add in and recombine elements, change relations between temporal sequences of events, enabling them to determine plausible alternatives of complex episodes.A difference between the patients and control participants was evident, however, in the patients' subtle avoidance of CF simulations that required the construction of an internal spatial representation.Overall, our findings suggest that mental simulation in the form of nonepisodic CF thinking does not seem to depend upon the hippocampus unless there is the added requirement for construction of a coherent spatial scene within which to play out scenarios.
Affiliation: Institute of Neuroscience, Henry Wellcome Building for Neuroecology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.Show MeSH
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Mentions: In the CF Generation Task, participants read a narrative about a fictional character Noel and his pilot friend who were involved in a plane crash (Fig. 1A). The sequence of events leading to the plane crash was structured so that it contained twelve seemingly salient “fault-lines” which could be readily altered. Within these 12 fault-lines, two would, if altered, not affect the outcome of the day's events (“lure” antecedents), five would, if altered, potentially change the outcome of the day's events but should not readily evoke CF thoughts (“causal-only” antecedents), while the remaining five fault-lines were both causal and CF in nature (they should readily evoke CF alternatives; “causal + CF” antecedents).
Affiliation: Institute of Neuroscience, Henry Wellcome Building for Neuroecology, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.