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Seeing the FutureTheoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel$
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Kourken Michaelian, Stanley B. Klein, and Karl K. Szpunar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190241537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190241537.001.0001

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With the Future in Mind

With the Future in Mind

Toward a Comprehensive Understanding of the Evolution of Future-Oriented Cognition

(p.306) 15 With the Future in Mind
Seeing the Future

Gema Martin-Ordas

Oxford University Press

The human mind often wanders forward in time to imagine what the future might be like (future-oriented cognition) and backward in time to remember personal events (episodic memory). Despite recent evidence, whether other animals—besides humans—can mentally travel in time is still the object of an arduous debate. In this chapter, the author critically reviews the theoretical and empirical assumptions behind this debate and questions the belief that the capacity for future-oriented cognition is uniquely human. The chapter concludes by arguing that the current view of the comparative research in future-oriented cognition is based on general theoretical constructs that are problematic, as well as on assumptions that have yet to be proved across different human populations. It calls for a broader theoretical and empirical approach in which not only cross-species studies but also cross-cultural studies are needed in order to understand future-oriented cognition.

Keywords:   episodic memory, future-oriented cognition, cross-cultural studies, cross-species studies, human

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