Browser does not support script.

Staff Profile

Dr Scott Cole

Associate Professor, Psychology

Scott Cole staff profile image

Psychology BSc, University of Liverpool
Memory and Its Disorders MSc, University of Leeds
PhD, University of Leeds

I am a Lecturer in Psychology with expertise in Cognitive Psychology and Neuropsychology. I completed my BSc in Psychology at the University of Liverpool in 2003. After some time teaching in China, I completed a Masters in Memory and its Disorders from the University of Leeds whilst working as a Rehabilitation Support Worker for the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust. After a one year period working as an Assistant Psychologist for the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust in Sussex, I returned to Leeds to complete a PhD in ‘Cognitive and mnemonic characteristics of Episodic Future Thinking’. I also spent a year as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working at the Centre on Autobiographical Memory in Aarhus, Denmark. I joined York St John University as a Lecturer in September 2015.


3PY356 Neuropsychology (Module Leader)

3PY340 Dissertation

MPY100 Psychological Research Methods


Imagining possible future events (or Episodic Future Thinking) is a fundamental and familiar aspect of everyday life. Imagined future scenarios can range from important life events to an upcoming job one intends to complete (e.g. doing the weekly shop). In my research, I have examined how a range of groups (for example, healthy young adults, older adults and those with acquired brain injuries) imagine specific scenarios which may plausibly happen in the future. I am interested in the cognitive processes required for episodic future thinking. As well as these theoretical aspects, I am also interested in the practical applications of how humans use imagining the future to attain personal goals. My recent work suggests a link between spontaneous future thoughts and current goals. I am also interested in the consequences of impairments in episodic future thinking. My research involves collaborative links with Experimental Cognitive Psychologists, Clinical Neuropsychologists & Health Psychologists.

My expertise lies in Memory systems, specifically episodic memory and episodic future thinking, utilising experimental methods. I also have expertise in Cognitive Neuropsychology, using case-controlled designs.

Professional Activities

British Neuropsychological Society (Member)

Experimental Psychology Society (Member)

British Psychological Society (Chartered Psychologist, CPsychol)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy


In Press

Duffy, J., Cole, S. N., Charura, D., & Boland, J. (2023). Depression and Looming Cognitive Style: Examining the Mediating Effect of Perceived Control.Journal of Affective Disorders Reports. Advance online publication.

Cole, S. N. (2023). Masterpieces and mental illness. A Book Review of 'Madness at the Movies' by James Charney. The Psychologist magazine.

Cole, S.N., Markostamou, I., Watson, L. A., Barzykowski, K., Ergen, I., Taylor, A. & Öner, S. (2022). Spontaneous past and future thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic across 14 countries: Effects of individual and country-level COVID-19 impact indicators. Journal of Applied Research on Memory and Cognition.


Öner, S., Watson, L. A., Adıgüzel, Z., Ergen, I., Bilgin, E., Curci, A, Cole, S. N., …Roediger, H, Szpunar, K. K., Tekin, E., Under, O. (2023).Collective remembering and future forecasting during the COVID-19 pandemic: How the impact of COVID-19 affected the themes and phenomenology of global and national memories across 15 countries. Mem Cogn 51, 729–751 (2023).

McClure, J. H. C. & Cole, S. N. (2022). Controllability is key: Goal pursuit during COVID-19 and insights for theories of self-regulation. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 52, 1196–1210.

Cole, S.N., Tubbs, P.M.C. (2022) Predictors of obsessive–compulsive symptomology: mind wandering about the past and future. Psychological Research 86, 1518–1534.

Cole, S. N., Smith, D. M., Ragan, K, Suurmond, R. & Armitage, C. J. (2021). Synthesizing Effects of Mental Simulation on Behavior Change: Systematic Review and Multilevel Meta-Analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 28, 1514–1537. doi :  (link to OSF page)

Duffy, J., Cole, S. N. (2020). Functions of involuntary and voluntary future thinking: Evidence from subjective ratingsPsychological Research, 851583–1601doi:

Cole, S. N & Kvavilashvili, L. (2021) . Spontaneous and deliberate future thinking: a dual process account. Psychological ResearchPsychological Research, 85(2), 464-479. doi:

Cole, S. N. and Kvavilashvili, L. (2019) Spontaneous future cognition: The past, present and future of an emerging topicPsychological Research, 83(4), 631-650. doi:

Hamilton, J. & Cole, S. N. (2017). Imagining possible selves across time: Characteristics of self-images and episodic thoughts. Consciousness & Cognition, 52, 9-20. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2017.04.015

Cole, S. N., & Pauly-Takacs, K. (2017) Is obesity linked with episodic memory impairment? A commentary on Cheke, Simons & Clayton (2016)The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70 (3), doi:10.1080/17470218.2016.1173075

Cole, S. N. (2017). A timely dose of theory in future thinking research. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 70(2). doi: 10.1080/17470218.2016.1245347

Conway, M. A., Loveday, C. & Cole, S. N. (2016). The Remembering-Imagining SystemMemory Studies, 9, 256-265. doi: 10.1177/1750698016645231

Cole, S. N., Staugaard, S., & Berntsen, D. (2016). Inducing Involuntary and Voluntary Mental Time Travel using a laboratory paradigm. Memory and Cognition, 44, 376-389. doi: 10.3758/s13421-015-0564-9

Cole, S. N., Morrison, C., Barak, O., Pauly-Takacs, K., & Conway, M. A. (2016). Amnesia and Future Thinking: Exploring the Role of Memory in the Quantity and Quality of Episodic Future Thoughts. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55, 206-224. doi:  10.1111/bjc.12094

Cole, S. N. & Berntsen, D. (2016). Do Future Thoughts Reflect Personal Goals? Current Concerns and Mental Time Travel into the Past and FutureQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69, 273-284. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1044542

Cole, S. N., Fotopoulou, A., Oddy, M., Moulin, C. J. A. (2014). Implausible Future Events in a Confabulating Patient with an Anterior Communicating Artery AneurismNeurocase, 20, 208-224.

Cole, S. N., Morrison, C. M. & Conway, M. A. (2013). Episodic Future Thinking: Linking Neuropsychological Performance and Episodic Detail in Young and Old AdultsQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 1687-1706. doi:10.1080/17470218.2012.758157

Cole, S. N., Gill, N., Conway, M. A., & Morrison, C. M. (2012). Mental Time Travel: Effects of Trial Duration on Episodic and Semantic Content. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 2288-2296. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2012.758157

Full-text reprints available upon request at Please include your full name and article you are interested in.

Popular Science Publications

Cole, S. N. (2013). Imagining our future…and changing it. The Psychologist, 26 (11), 840-841.

Cole, S. N. (2012). The Joy of RECs (Research Ethics Committees): The life-cycle of a National Health Service ethics application. Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group Quarterly (British Psychological Society), 82, 26-29.

Conference Presentations

“Spontaneous future thinking: Another route to prospection”. Invited talk at Bradford University, on 11th December, 2019

“The effect of coping skills on depression, anxiety, and autobiographical memory retrieval.” Poster presented at the Special Interest Meeting in Autobiographical Memory and Psychopathology on 5-6th December, 2019.

Discussant in “Spontaneity in Future Thinking: A Forward-Looking Research Symposium”, European Society for Cognitive Psychology, Tenerife, 25-28th September, 2019.

“Perceived Functions of Involuntary and Voluntary Future Thoughts” at the Society for Applied Memory and Cognition, Cape Cod, 5-9th June, 2019

“The Science of Future Thinking”. Invited talk at the annual British Science Festival 12th September 2018 at University of Hull.

“The effects of mental simulation on behaviour” Invited Psychology Department seminar, 11th October 2018 at University of Hertfordshire and October the 24th at Swansea University.

“Candidate mechanisms underlying spontaneous future thinking: A summary of three studies”, Mind wandering and Mindfulness conference, Northumbria University, 22nd July 2018.

'Looking forward: The psychology of future thinking', British Psychological Society 'Psychology in the Pub' public event, Duke of York, York, 23rd October 2017.

'The effect of pulvinar damage on emotional processing of internally-generated past and future events', Symposium Talk, Federation of European Societies of Neuropsychology, 13-15 September 2017.

“The Effect of Pulvinar Damage on Emotional Processing of Simulated Scenes”, Symposium Talk, International Conference on Memory, 17-22nd July 2016.

“The Goal-relatedness of Voluntary and Involuntary Future Thoughts Elicited in a Laboratory Task”, Invited Symposium Talk, Biannual Congress of the Swiss Psychological Society, Geneva, September 8-9th 2015.

“The use of mental rehearsal to promote achievement of functional rehabilitation goals following acquired brain injury (ABI)” (Co-author), Poster Presentation, Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Special Interest Group of the World Federation of Neurorehabilitation (WFNR), Australia, 6-7th July 2015.  

“Episodic Future Thinking: The role of current and future concerns”, Symposium Talk, International Convention of Psychological Science (an APS event), Amsterdam, 12-14 March 2015.

“Mental Time Travel: Developing a Laboratory Paradigm for Inducing both its Involuntary and Voluntary Types”, Invited Seminar Talk, Department of Psychology, University of Hull, February, 2015.

“Inducing Involuntary and Voluntary Mental Time Travel in a Laboratory Paradigm”, Talk, Great Yorkshire Memory Meeting, University of Leeds, December, 2014

“Differentiating Event Simulations: The Past, Imagined Past and Future” Poster, Social Perspectives on Autobiographical Memory, June, 2013.

“Deconstructing the Differences between Memory and Imagination” Talk, Experimental Psychology Society, Lancaster Meeting, April, 2013.

“Remembering your past to imagine your future”. ‘Three Minute Thesis’ Finalist Talk at Showcase Postgraduate Conference, University of Leeds, December, 2012.

“Exploring Subprocesses of Imagined Future Events”. Poster, International Conference on Memory, University of York, 31 July-5 August, 2011.

“The self and its role in constructing autobiographical future events”. Poster, Theoretical Perspectives on Autobiographical Memory, Aarhus University, Denmark. 13- 16 June, 2010

“Autobiographical memory and its role in constructing imagined future events”. Talk, Greater Yorkshire Memory meeting, University of Hull, 4th December, 2009.

“Past and Future Confabulation: A case study of MW”. Poster Presentation, Recollection Workshop (ESRC-funded), Descarte University Paris, France. 18th December 2008. Awarded Poster Prize                                                             

“Emotion, Drives and Confabulation”, Data Blitz Presentation (Talk), Emotion Conference, International Neuropsychoanalysis Society (ESRC-funded), King’s College London, 14th December 2007.

Grant Funding

  • EEG correlates of Involuntary Memories at Encoding and Retrieval, funded by Experimental Psychology Society.
  • Cognitive mechanisms underlying spontaneous future thoughts, funded by Experimental Psychology Society.
Cookie Settings