Spontaneous Future Projections in Healthy Individuals and in Psychological Disorders

DG/125, De Grey Court, York St John University
Event Time
Friday 28 July 2017, 9.00am - 6.00pm
Spontaneous Future Projections Image

Category Health

Spontaneous Future Projections in Healthy Individuals and in Psychological Disorders

Friday 28 July 2017
York St John University, DG/125, De Grey Court
9.00am - 6.00pm

Delegate fee: £45.00 per person
Student rate: £36.00 per person*

*Proof of student status will be required

Whether pondering tonight’s meal or the birth of our first child, we often think of what might happen in the future. However, sometimes, we experience these as ‘spontaneous future projections’ – possible future scenarios that come to mind seemingly ‘out of the blue’. In mental distress, these involuntary projections can be unwanted, and take more disturbing forms.

In the first international workshop on this emerging topic, we bring together experts to discuss their latest findings and insights on spontaneous future projections and how they manifest in psychologically normally functioning and distressed individuals.

The workshop is primarily aimed at academic and clinical psychologists, however students and members of the general public interested in such topics are welcome to attend.

To register for this event please click on the 'Book' icon at the top of the page. (Bookings will open soon)

Scientific Background

For two decades, research on spontaneous cognitive phenomena has been gaining momentum. There has been rapid growth of research on involuntary autobiographical memories (i.e., personal memories that come to mind spontaneously). These personal memories are similar in content to memories we deliberately bring to mind, but involve no effort and no intention to recall them, as memories simply ‘pop into mind’. It is also known that humans can experience involuntary cognitions involving words, songs or names. Besides involuntary memories, more recently, neuroscientific research has examined other spontaneous mental processes at play when attention drifts off-task, such as mind wandering.

Spontaneous future projections are yet another form of involuntary cognition, and as such have already been examined under the scope of other perspectives. Overall, it is known that they occur when the mind wanders or individuals are off-task (e.g., distracted); they can be conceptualised as involuntary future thoughts. Some of these involuntary future thoughts will become unwanted mental experiences (e.g., projecting one’s relationship break-up or a tragic accident), and thus may be referred to as “intrusive thoughts.” These may be more frequent and particularly distressing in psychological disorders such as social anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Scientific and Practical Aims of the Workshop

One important purpose for this workshop is to bring the topics of mind-wandering, autobiographical memory, future thinking, prospective memory and intrusive cognition together and, in synergy, ask some basic questions about spontaneous future projections. For instance: Can the primary content of spontaneous future thoughts be identified? What are the characteristics of future projections (e.g. emotional aspects, spatial detail)? What cognitive processes (e.g. executive function) are associated with the occurrence of spontaneous future projections? Another, equally important, purpose for the workshop is to explore the relevance of spontaneous future projections in clinical settings. Here, we would like to ask: What is the frequency and content of involuntary future projections in different clinical disorders? Do future projections reveal anything unique about disorders of the mind?

Confirmed Speakers

Soren R. Staugaard, Aarhus University, Denmark
'Involuntary memories in the lab and thoughts about involuntary future projections'

Manila Vannucci, University of Florence, Italy
'Space-time interaction: Visuo-spatial processing affects the temporal orientation of spontaneous mind wandering'

Giuliana Mazzoni, University of Hull, UK
'Personal past and personal future: What distinguishes involuntary memories and involuntary thought?' 

Lia Kvavilashvili, University of Herfordshire, UK
'Effects of age on spontaneous past and future thinking'

Krystian Barzykowski, Jagiellonian University, Poland
'The role of cognitive inhibition in involuntary mental time travel'

Scott Cole, York St. John University, UK
'Where do they come from? Exploring the possible origins of involuntary future projections inside and outside the laboratory'

Jonathan Smallwood, University of York, UK
'Towards a component process account of naturally occurring mental time travel'

Adriana del Palacio Gonzalez, Aarhus University, Denmark
'Day-to Day Involuntary Thoughts about the Personal Future of Socially Anxious Individuals'

Workshop Programme

9.00am - 9.45am Registration & arrival refreshments
9.45am - 10.00am Introduction to Spontaneous Future Projections (Dr Scott Cole, York St John University)
Scientific Presentations  
10.00am - 10.30am Soren Staugaard (Aarhus University, Denmark)
10.30am - 11.00am Manila Vannucci (University of Florence, Italy)
11.00am - 11.30am Giuliana Mazzoni (University of Hull, UK)
11.30am - 11.50am Refreshment break
11.50am - 12.20pm Lia Kvavilishvili (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
12.20pm - 12.50pm Krystian Barzykowski (Jagiellonian University, Poland)
12.50pm - 1.50pm Lunch
1.50pm - 2.20pm Scott Cole (York St John University, UK)
2.20pm - 2.50pm Jonathan Smallwood (University of York, UK)
2.50pm - 3.00pm Refreshment break
Spontaneous Future Projections:  Applications for Clinical Psychology
3.00pm - 3.30pm An example of a new Clinical Investigation. Adriana del Palacio Gonzalez (Aarhus University, Denmark)
3.30pm - 4.00pm

Clinicians' experience of patients' Spontaneous Future Projections - (Co-chaired by Adriana de Palacio Gonzalez and Scott Cole)

4.00pm - 5.00pm Small group discussions (practicing psychologists, scientists and people with mental health experience): Psychological disorders and Involuntary Future Projections. What are the opportunities and challenges?
5.00pm - 5.10pm Conclusion and Plan for future research and establishing a research network.
5.10pm - 6.00pm Drinks Reception

This event has been funded by York St John University.

If you have any queries about this event please contact Dr Scott Cole e: s.cole1@yorksj.ac.uk t: 07962367669

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