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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: May 2020

22 - Imagination and Self-Referential Thinking

from Part III - Intentionality-Based Forms of the Imagination


People spend a considerable amount of time thinking about themselves and their life. While many of these thoughts refer to manifest (present or past) self–attributes and experiences, an important part of self-referential thinking involves imagined selves (e.g. personal characteristics and life events that people anticipate or wish might happen in their future). The aim of this chapter is to discuss how these imagined aspects of the self are constructed and organized in the human mind, with a particular focus on future-oriented thinking. A cognitive architecture is proposed in which imagined future selves rely on multiple representational systems that are used to envision personal attributes, goals, and life events with more or less specificity.

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