News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.


The Center for Law, Brain & Behavior puts the most accurate and actionable neuroscience in the hands of judges, lawyers, policymakers and journalists—people who shape the standards and practices of our legal system and affect its impact on people’s lives. We work to make the legal system more effective and more just for all those affected by the law.

Remembering the Past and Imagining the Future: Identifying and Enhancing the Contribution of Episodic Memory

By Daniel L. Schacter and Kevin P. Madore | Memory Studies | August 2015


Recent studies have shown that imagining or simulating future events relies on many of the same cognitive and neural processes as remembering past events. According to the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis (Schacter and Addis, 2007), such overlap indicates that both remembered past and imagined future events rely heavily on episodic memory: future simulations are built on retrieved details of specific past experiences that are recombined into novel events. An alternative possibility is that commonalities between remembering and imagining reflect the influence of more general, non-episodic factors such as narrative style or communicative goals that shape the expression of both memory and imagination. We consider recent studies that distinguish the contributions of episodic and non-episodic processes in remembering the past and imagining the future by using an episodic specificity induction – brief training in recollecting the details of a past experience – and also extend this approach to the domains of problem solving and creative thinking. We conclude by suggesting that the specificity induction may target a process of scene construction that contributes to episodic memory as well as to imagination, problem solving, and creative thinking.

Read the full paper here.

Specifying the CORE Network Supporting Episodic Simulation and Episodic Memory by Activation Likelihood Estimation

By Roland G. Benoit and Daniel L. Schacter | Neuropsychologia | July 2, 2015


It has been suggested that the simulation of hypothetical episodes and the recollection of past episodes are supported by fundamentally the same set of brain regions. The present article specifies this core network via Activation Likelihood Estimation (ALE). Specifically, a first meta-analysis revealed joint engagement of core network regions during episodic memory and episodic simulation. These include parts of the medial surface, the hippocampus and parahippocampal cortex within the medial temporal lobes, and the lateral temporal and inferior posterior parietal cortices on the lateral surface. Both capacities also jointly recruited additional regions such as parts of the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. All of these core regions overlapped with the default network. Moreover, it has further been suggested that episodic simulation may require a stronger engagement of some of the core network’s nodes as wells as the recruitment of additional brain regions supporting control functions. A second ALE meta-analysis indeed identified such regions that were consistently more strongly engaged during episodic simulation than episodic memory. These comprised the core-network clusters located in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and posterior inferior parietal lobe and other structures distributed broadly across the default and fronto-parietal control networks. Together, the analyses determine the set of brain regions that allow us to experience past and hypothetical episodes, thus providing an important foundation for studying the regions’ specialized contributions and interactions.

Read full article here.