Episodic simulation

Imagining the future: The core episodic simulation network dissociates as a function of timecourse and the amount of simulated information.
Cortex. 2017 May;90:12-30.
Thakral PP, Benoit RG, Schacter DL.

Neuroimaging data indicate that episodic memory (i.e., remembering specific past experiences) and episodic simulation (i.e., imagining specific future experiences) are associated with enhanced activity in a common set of neural regions, often referred to as the core network. This network comprises the hippocampus, parahippocampal cortex, lateral and medial parietal cortex, lateral temporal cortex, and medial prefrontal cortex. Evidence for a core network has been taken as support for the idea that episodic memory and episodic simulation are supported by common processes. Much remains to be learned about how specific core network regions contribute to specific aspects of episodic simulation. Prior neuroimaging studies of episodic memory indicate that certain regions within the core network are differentially sensitive to the amount of information recollected (e.g., the left lateral parietal cortex). In addition, certain core network regions dissociate as a function of their timecourse of engagement during episodic memory (e.g., transient activity in the posterior hippocampus and sustained activity in the left lateral parietal cortex). In the current study, we assessed whether similar dissociations could be observed during episodic simulation. We found that the left lateral parietal cortex modulates as a function of the amount of simulated details. Of particular interest, while the hippocampus was insensitive to the amount of simulated details, we observed a temporal dissociation within the hippocampus: transient activity occurred in relatively posterior portions of the hippocampus and sustained activity occurred in anterior portions. Because the posterior hippocampal and lateral parietal findings parallel those observed during episodic memory, the present results add to the evidence that episodic memory and episodic simulation are supported by common processes. Critically, the present study also provides evidence that regions within the core network support dissociable processes.



We can do whatever we want

Watch Out For That Butterfly: The Lure Of Literary Time Travel
July 19, 2014

We can actually do whatever we want,” says science fiction author Connie Willis.
She’s won all kinds of awards for her tales of time-traveling historians — like Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog. Willis says the best thing about time travel is no one’s invented it yet — so it can be whatever you want.

“You know, you can change history or not change history, you can go as an observer, you can go where you actually become part of the past and help fulfill history, it’s pretty limitless.”

The most powerful form of time travel is memory

‘Looper’ Director: Memory A Form Of Time Travel    
September 30, 2012

Time travel is a notoriously tricky plot to work with.
Johnson says he looked back at classic time travel movies like 12 Monkeys and Back to the Future, and was reassured to find things even there that didn’t make sense.
“But the magic trick of those movies is, it constructs this story where it really is like a magician with a deck of cards,” he says.
It fools you into believing it makes sense for two hours, so that you can go along on this ride.”

“I think the most powerful form of time travel is memory,” he says. “Every day … we’ll kind of go off in our heads and revisit moments in our lives, and wish that we had done them differently.”
And time travel stories can also be a warning, “the same way that Frankenstein stories are kind of a cautionary tale, sort of a ‘yes, you think you want that, but it actually wouldn’t help, it would actually make things worse’ … you think you want to revisit the past, but in reality you should just be living in the present.”

‘Looper’: Time-Travel Nonsense, Winningly Played
by David Edelstein
September 27, 2012

I adore time-travel pictures like Looper no matter how idiotic, especially when they feature a Love That Transcends Time.
I love Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, The Time Traveler’s Wife, even The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in different years sending letters through a magic mailbox.
So terrible. So good.
See, everyone wants to correct mistakes in hindsight, and it’s the one thing we cannot do.
Except vicariously, in movies.

Oddly, though, it took me a while to warm up to Looper, an unusually arty time-travel thriller that evokes bits and pieces of 12 Monkeys, The Terminator and Blade Runner — good models, but not when they’re blended so haphazardly.

Rewrite This Story


Time Travel

Time Travel
The Universe > Season 5. 08/19/2010
One of the Universe’s most enduring mysteries is Time Travel.
In this episode, we explore the possibilities. Discover why Time Travel into the future is unavoidable in the Einsteinian world of Relativity.
As for the past… the laws of physics do not tell us it’s impossible, but the bizarre consequences of going into the past and altering the future make for mind-bending science.

the arrow of time
time dilation
worm hole
Carl Sagan: Contact
time machine
Large Hadron Collider
warp drive; warp bubbles
dark energy as a power source
closest star: Alpha Centauri (4.37 light years from the Sun)