The Development of Episodic Foresight for the Future-Self and Future-Other

by Rosanne Marama Taylor

Institution: University of Otago
Year: 0
Keywords: Episodic memory; episodic foresight; memory development; Planning; mental time travel
Record ID: 1307260
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/4853


Episodic foresight refers to the uniquely human ability to mentally travel forward in time to pre-experience potential future events. Recently, it has been suggested that the episodic foresight system may allow us to not only pre-experience and predict our own future, but also that of another person. In the current study we investigate this possibility by examining the ability of 3- and 4-year-old children to plan for their own future and that of another person. In two experiments, children were taken on a treasure hunt, where they found a locked treasure chest. After a delay, the children were given a choice of items to take back with them to the sandpit. Importantly, half the children were asked to select an item that they themselves would need for the sandpit, while the other half were asked to pick an item that someone else (i.e., the experimenter) would need. Consistent with the view planning for someone else‟s future recruits similar neural structures to planning for one‟s own future, both 3- and 4-year- old children performed equally well when planning for their own future as they did when planning for the experimenter‟s future. We discuss the theoretical implications of these findings and potential avenues for future research.