Behavioural evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals

Suddendorf, T and Corballis, MC (2010) Behavioural evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals. Behavioural Brain Research, 215 2: 292-298. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2009.11.044

Author Suddendorf, T
Corballis, MC
Title Behavioural evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals
Journal name Behavioural Brain Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0166-4328
Publication date 2010-12
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.bbr.2009.11.044
Volume 215
Issue 2
Start page 292
End page 298
Total pages 7
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Abstract If episodic memory is an adaptation, it must have evolved to benefit present or future survival and reproduction, rather than to provide an accurate record of the past per se. Recent research has documented various links between the ability to construct episodes of the past and imagine potential future episodes, and it has been argued that the former may be a design feature of the latter. Thus, claims about the existence of episodic memory in non-verbal organisms may be evaluated by examining behavioural evidence for foresight. Here we review recent data on foresight in animals and conclude that the evidence to suggest episodic memory so far is equivocal. We suggest specific experimental criteria that could provide stronger evidence. We maintain that there must be uniquely human traits for which there are no animal models and it remains possible that mental time travel depends on several such traits. Identification of what precisely is unique about the human capacity and what is not, can inform us about the nature and evolution of the human capacities. © 2009 Elsevier B.V.
Keyword Episodic memory
Episodic-like memory
Memory systems
Mental time travel
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 3 December 2009.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Thu, 10 Mar 2011, 17:13:24 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology