Meet YOUR Future-SELF

Imagine that you are about to ‘meet’ your future-self. How would that feel and what would you ask? And what if you could momentarily become your future-self, would it change the way you presently think about your future?

In the current research project, we will use virtual reality technology to let participants ‘meet’ their future-self and also ‘become’ their future-self. We hypothesize that interaction with a future version of oneself might lead to an increase in psychological connectedness of oneself in the present with oneself in the future. Research shows that strong psychological connectedness between oneself in the present and oneself in the future leads to a preference for more long-term oriented behavior and thinking (e.g., Van Gelder, Luciano, Weulen Kranenbarg, & Hershfield, 2015). This in turn, may lead to more positive behavior in the here and now (e.g., save money, work out, behave ethically, study hard, etc.; (Hershfield, 2018; Rutchick, Slepian, Reyes, Pleskus, & Hershfield, 2018).  

Within the current research project, we will investigate whether a future-self embodiment experience in virtual reality lead to changes in vividness of participants’ image of their future-self and whether this experience affects psychological connectedness between oneself in the present and oneself in the future. We will compare this condition with an in vivo visualization exercise and a control condition with no exercise.


An experimental design with three conditions run on campus. We will make use of virtual reality technology and self-report questionnaires to find out whether embodying one’s future-self lead to changes in participants attitudes towards to future and whether there is an effect for different conditions (virtual reality, imagination exercise, control condition).


Virtual reality, embodiment, future self, embodied cognition


Are you interested in this topic for your thesis? Please contact the bachelor thesis coordinator Jan Gutteling (


February 2019


Hershfield, H. E. (2018). The self over time. Current Opinion in Psychology, 26, 72–75.

Rutchick, A. M., Slepian, M. L., Reyes, M. O., Pleskus, L. N., & Hershfield, H. E. (2018). Future self-continuity is associated with improved health and increases exercise behavior. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 24(1), 72–80.

Van Gelder, J. L., Luciano, E. C., Weulen Kranenbarg, M., & Hershfield, H. E. (2015). Friends with my future self: Longitudinal vividness intervention reduces delinquency. Criminology, 53(2), 158–179.