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Episodic future thought: Illuminating the trademarks of forming true and false intentions



In this paper we argue that the emerging concept of episodic future thought (EFT) is a good candidate for capturing the core mental processes at play when forming an intention. Furthermore, we argue that tapping essential EFT features can be helpful in understanding how statements on the forming of true and false intentions may differ. Specifically, we argue that the processes relevant for constructing a convincing cover-story (which a guilty suspect needs to mask his criminal intention) will be much less characterized by the typical EFT features. To test our assumption we devised a new experimental set-up accommodating the main characteristics of intent and allowing for episodic future thought. The combined empirical evidence strongly supports our assumption that EFT is a helpful concept for illuminating the differences that may occur when forming true and false intentions. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.