Recalling yesterday and predicting tomorrow

School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia
Cognitive Development (Impact Factor: 1.73). 07/2005; 20:362-372. DOI: 10.1016/j.cogdev.2005.05.002


Three-, 4- and 5-year-old children were asked to report something that they did do yesterday and something that they were going to do tomorrow. They were also asked to recall events that had not occurred yesterday, and predict events that would not occur tomorrow. In two studies these simple questions revealed striking age differences in the ability to report personal events from the past and the future. Only a minority of 3-year-olds but a majority of the older children were able to appropriately answer these questions. These findings substantiate the proposal that the ability to recall past events and the ability to predict future events (i.e., mental time travel), emerge in tandem between the ages of 3 and 5 years.

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    • "building blocks that make up the contents of future-oriented cognition (Schacter and Addis, 2007), along with other modes of cognition that rely on memory-based processing (Buckner and Carroll, 2007; for related theoretical interpretations, see Hassabis and Maguire, 2007, 2009). In support of such claims, more recent work with healthy populations that possess underdeveloped or deteriorating episodic memory systems, such as younger children (Atance, 2008; Busby and Suddendorf, 2005; Russell et al., 2010) and older adults (Addis et al., 2008; Gaesser et al., 2011), have likewise been shown to exhibit an impoverished ability to engage in future-oriented mental time travel. Moreover, populations that possess varying degrees of episodic memory impairment, such as Alzheimers disease (Addis et al., 2009), mild cognitive impairment (Gamboz et al., 2010), schizophrenia (D'Argembeau et al., 2008), and posttraumatic stress disorder (Brown et al., 2013) also encounter difficulty in thinking about the future. "

    Seeing the Future: Theoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel, Edited by Kourken Michaelian, Stanley B. Klein, Karl K. Szpunar, 01/2016; Oxford University Press.
    • "Moreover, conditions that lead to more subtle memory impairments, such as schizophrenia and depression, also produce an accompanying deficit in episodic future thought (D'Argembeau, Raffard, & Van der Linden, 2008; Williams et al., 1996 for schizophrenia and depression, respectively). Both capacities develop at about four years of age (Busby & Suddendorf, 2005). Furthermore, neuroimaging studies have shown similarities in the neural signature of remembering and episodic future thought (e.g., Addis, Wong, & Schacter, 2007; Szpunar, Watson, & McDermott, 2007; for a recent review, see Schacter et al., 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: According to the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis, remembering and episodic future thinking are supported by a common set of constructive processes. In the present study, we directly addressed this assertion in the context of third-person perspectives that arise during remembering and episodic future thought. Specifically, we examined the frequency with which participants remembered past events or imagined future events from third-person perspectives. We also examined the different viewpoints from which third-person perspective events were remembered or imagined. Although future events were somewhat more likely to be imagined from a third-person perspective, the spatial viewpoint distributions of third-person perspectives characterizing remembered and imagined events were highly similar. These results suggest that a similar constructive mechanism may be at work when people remember events from a perspective that could not have been experienced in the past and when they imagine events from a perspective that could not be experienced in the future. The findings are discussed in terms of their consistency with-and as extensions of-the constructive episodic simulation hypothesis.
    Quarterly journal of experimental psychology (2006) 07/2015; DOI:10.1080/17470218.2015.1067237 · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    • "The lack of correlation between ToM and " hot " IC , observed in previous studies and replicated in the present study , has important implications on the alleged link between delay of gratification and so - called " mental time travel " ( MTT ) . MTT is defined as the ability to mentally project oneself in some future situation ( Atance and Meltzoff , 2005 ; Suddendorf and Corballis , 2007 ) , and it is increasingly conceptualized as continuous and complementary with the ability to remember episodes on one ' s past ( episodic memory ; Busby and Suddendorf , 2005 ; Addis et al . , 2007 ) . "
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    ABSTRACT: During preschool years, major developments occur in both executive function and theory of mind (ToM), and several studies have demonstrated a correlation between these processes. Research on the development of inhibitory control (IC) has distinguished between more cognitive, “cool” aspects of self-control, measured by conflict tasks, that require inhibiting an habitual response to generate an arbitrary one, and “hot”, affective aspects, such as affective decision making, measured by delay tasks, that require inhibition of a prepotent response. The aim of this study was to investigate the relations between 3- and 4-year-olds’ performance on a task measuring false belief understanding, the most widely used index of ToM in preschoolers, and two tasks measuring cognitive versus affective aspects of IC. To this end, we tested 101 Italian preschool children in three tasks: (a) the Unexpected Content False Belief task, (b) the Conflict task (a simplified version of the Day-Night Stroop task), and (c) the Delay task. Children’s receptive vocabulary was assessed by the Peabody Picture Vocabulary test. Children’s performance in the False Belief task was significantly related only to performance in the Conflict task, controlling for vocabulary and age. Importantly, children’s performance in the Conflict task did not significantly correlate with their performance in the Delay task, suggesting that these tasks measure different components of IC. The dissociation between the Conflict and the Delay task may indicate that monitoring and regulating a cool process (as flexible categorization) may involve different abilities than monitoring and regulating a hot process (not touching an available and highly attractive stimulus). Moreover, our findings support the view that “cool” aspects of IC and ToM are interrelated, extending to an Italian sample of children previous findings on an association between self-control and ToM.
    Frontiers in Psychology 06/2015; 6:872. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00872 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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