The development of Temporal Cognition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Time features in two key ways in cognition, each of which is discussed in turn in this chapter: time is processed as a dimension of stimuli or events, and time is represented as a framework in which events can be located. Section 1 examines the first of these from a developmental perspective, by reviewing research on age-related changes in the accuracy of duration processing. The Piagetian approach linked changes in duration processing to the development of a concept of time as a dimension of events separable from other event dimensions. This is contrasted with recent research conducted within the framework of Scalar Expectancy Theory, which models development in terms of changes in components of specialized timing mechanisms. Section 2 discusses developmental changes in the temporal frameworks that children use to represent the locations of events. Although as adults, we represent times as locations on a linear framework stretching from the past, to the present, and into the future, this way of representing time is not developmentally basic. A model is proposed of developmental stages in the acquisition of a mature temporal framework. The chapter concludes by considering two themes that cut across Section 1 and 2: the issue of whether there are both qualitative and quantitative change in children’s temporal abilities, and the link between temporal and spatial cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, Volume 2: Cognitive Processes
EditorsRichard M. Lerner, Lynn S. Liben, Ulrich Mueller
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-13678-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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