It takes me back: The mnemonic time-travel effect

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Given the close links between motion and temporal thinking, it is surprising that no studies have examined the possibility that transporting participants back mentally towards the time of encoding could improve memory. Based on our recent research we predicted that backward motion would promote recall relative to forward motion or no-motion conditions. Participants saw a video of a staged crime (Experiments 1, 3 and 5), a word list (Experiments 2 and 4) or a set of images (Experiment 6). Then, they walked forward or backwards (Experiments 1 and 2), watched a forward- or backward-directed vection-inducing video (Experiments 3 and 4) or imagined walking forward or backwards (Experiments 5 and 6). Finally, they answered questions about the video or recalled words or images. The hypothesis was confirmed except in Experiment 5, in which both forward and backward motion improved performance. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of this “mnemonic time-travel effect”.

© 2018, Elsevier. The attached document (embargoed until 24/10/2019) is an author produced version of a paper published in PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self- archiving policy. The final published version (version of record) is available online at the link below. Some minor differences between this version and the final published version may remain. We suggest you refer to the final published version should you wish to cite from it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-250
Early online date24 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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