The development of mental scenario building and episodic foresight

Suddendorf, Thomas and Redshaw, Jonathan (2013) The development of mental scenario building and episodic foresight. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1296 1: 135-153. doi:10.1111/nyas.12189

Author Suddendorf, Thomas
Redshaw, Jonathan
Title The development of mental scenario building and episodic foresight
Journal name Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0077-8923
ISBN *****************
Publication date 2013-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/nyas.12189
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 1296
Issue 1
Start page 135
End page 153
Total pages 19
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Episodic foresight is the future-directed counterpart of episodic memory. It is a sophisticated, potentially uniquely human capacity, with tremendous adaptive consequences. Here we review what is currently known about its development through early childhood. We tackle this from two distinct perspectives. First, we present the first systematic evaluation of the development of purported components of mental scenario building as highlighted by a theater metaphor: the stage, the playwright, the set, the actors, the director, the executive producer, and the broadcaster. We find that, although there are diverse developmental trajectories, by 4 years of age children have acquired the basic cognitive components required to mentally construct specific future events. Second, we examine recent attempts to test children's episodic foresight more directly and find that results are in line with those examining the development of required components. This is not to say that children younger than four have no inkling of upcoming events or that older children have nothing left to learn about constructing the future. Episodic foresight, and its neurocognitive foundations, continues to develop throughout childhood.
Keyword Mental time travel
Scene construction
Prospective Memory
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 22 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 25 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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