Retro- and prospection for mental time travel: emergence of episodic remembering and mental rotation in 5 to 8 year old children. [Book Review]

Consciousness and Cognition 19 (3):802-815 (2010)
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Abstract

We investigate the common development of children’s ability to “look back in time” and to “look into the future” . Experiment 1 with 59 children 5 to 8.5 years old showed mental rotation, as a measure of prospection, explaining specific variance of free recall, as a measure of episodic remembering when controlled for cued recall. Experiment 2 with 31 children from 5 to 6.5 years measured episodic remembering with recall of visually experienced events when controlling for recall of indirectly conveyed events . Quite unexpectedly rotators were markedly worse on indirect items than non-rotators. We speculate that with the ability to rotate children switch from knowledge retrieval to episodic remembering, which maintains success for experienced events but has detrimental effects for indirect information

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Josef Perner
University of Salzburg