Recalling yesterday and predicting tomorrow
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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