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.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
|Event||Joint Annual Conference of the BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections - Reading, United Kingdom|
Duration: 04 Sep 2013 → 06 Sep 2013
|Conference||Joint Annual Conference of the BPS Developmental and Cognitive Sections|
|Period||04/09/2013 → 06/09/2013|