As older people’s memory fades, so does their ability to imagine future scenarios. A Harvard University study, published in Psychological Science, looked at the correlation between episodic memory and the capacity for imagination and found they are related.

Researchers, using a technique in which young and older participants responded to randomly selected cue words with past and future scenarios, found that the older adults “displayed a significant reduction in the [retention] of internal episodic details to describe both past memories and imagined future events.” The findings raise new questions about the link between memory deficits and other types of memory, too.

An abstract of the results can be found at www.psychologicalscience.org.