Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Tranel, Daniel T

First Committee Member

Denburg, Natalie L

Second Committee Member

Voss, Michelle W

Third Committee Member

Hoth, Karin F

Fourth Committee Member

Nikolas, Molly A


Episodic future thinking is defined as the ability to mentally project oneself into the future into a specific time and place. Episodic future thinking has been explored extensively in neuroscience. However, it has not been determined whether the measurement of episodic future thinking might be valuable in a clinical neuropsychological setting. The current study examined the relationship between episodic future thinking and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which is a domain of adaptive functioning frequently assessed by neuropsychologists to examine independent living potential including the ability to handle finances, prepare food, complete household duties, and manage medications. A secondary aim was to examine whether episodic future thinking is related to IADLs over and above standard measures of cognition. 61 older adults with heterogeneous neurological conditions and 41 healthy older adults completed a future thinking task (the adapted Autobiographical Interview), two measures of IADLs (an informant report measure called the Everyday Cognition Scale and a performance-based measure called the Independent Living Scales), and standard measures of memory and executive functioning. Episodic future thinking was significantly associated with performance-based IADLs when accounting for age, education, gender, and depression (r=.26, p=.010). Episodic future thinking significantly predicted performance-based IADLs over and above executive functioning (R2=.025, p=.030). Episodic future thinking was not predictive of performance-based IADLs over and above memory (p=.157). Episodic future thinking was not significantly associated with informant reported IADLs when accounting for age, education, gender, and depression (p=.284). This study suggests that episodic future thinking is significantly associated with IADLs, beyond what can be accounted for by executive functioning. Episodic future thinking may provide information about IADLs to clinical neuropsychologists so they can improve their recommendations for independent living.


episodic future thinking, executive functioning, instrumental activities of daily living, memory, older adults


ix, 114 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 59-84).


Copyright © 2018 Amanda M. Brunette