Emergence of episodic future though in pre-school aged children

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Abstract

Three experiments examined the development of episodic future thinking: the ability to think ahead about novel future situations (Atance & O’Neill, 2001). Each experiment used three novel tasks, similar to the Blow Football task used by Russell, Alexis, and Clayton (2010). In each, there was a different table top with two sides. Children played a game on one side of a table, and then were asked to choose a tool to play with a similar game on the other side of the table the next day. For example, children used a toy fishing rod to catch magnetic fish on one side of the table; playing the same game from the other side of the table required a different type of fishing rod. At test, children chose between 2 or 3 tools: a) the tool they used today, b) the tool suitable for the other side (correct) and c) a distractor tool which was not suitable for either side. In Experiment 1, 24 four-year-olds selected 1 out of 2 tools for tomorrow. Children selected the correct item above chance level in all tasks (p < 0.001). In Experiment 2, in which children were not allowed to look at the apparatus when choosing, 21 three-year olds selected 1 out of 2 tools for tomorrow. This group also selected the right tool above chance level in all tasks (p < 0.001).The results of Experiments 1 and 2 imply that 3- and 4-year olds might indeed show episodic future foresight. However, they could have also selected the right tool by default. To control for this, a third tool distractor was introduced in Experiment 3. This time, 3-4 year olds did not perform above chance levels, suggesting that there is an alternative explanation as to why they performed so well in the previous two experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventJoint Annual Conference of the BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections - Reading, United Kingdom
Duration: 04 Sep 201306 Sep 2013
https://www.reading.ac.uk/psychology/CogDev2013.aspx

Conference

ConferenceJoint Annual Conference of the BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityReading
Period04/09/201306/09/2013
Internet address

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