Thinking about the future: The nature and development of mental time travel (2007–2009)
Time travel may never be physically possible. We do however regularly travel in time in our minds. While psychologists have long studied memory, little is known about our ability to consider the future. This project is one of the first systematic investigations into how this capacity develops in childhood. Four novel sets of experiments test what children understand about temporally displaced events, and when and how they start to act with the future in mind. We also test our closest relatives, apes, to identify their competence. Together, these data will inform us about the nature, development and evolution of one of the most important, yet long overlooked, attributes of the human mind.