Behavioral and Brain Sciences 30 (3):299-313 (2007)

Abstract
In a dynamic world, mechanisms allowing prediction of future situations can provide a selective advantage. We suggest that memory systems differ in the degree of flexibility they offer for anticipatory behavior and put forward a corresponding taxonomy of prospection. The adaptive advantage of any memory system can only lie in what it contributes for future survival. The most flexible is episodic memory, which we suggest is part of a more general faculty of mental time travel that allows us not only to go back in time, but also to foresee, plan, and shape virtually any specific future event. We review comparative studies and find that, in spite of increased research in the area, there is as yet no convincing evidence for mental time travel in nonhuman animals. We submit that mental time travel is not an encapsulated cognitive system, but instead comprises several subsidiary mechanisms. A theater metaphor serves as an analogy for the kind of mechanisms required for effective mental time travel. We propose that future research should consider these mechanisms in addition to direct evidence of future-directed action. We maintain that the emergence of mental time travel in evolution was a crucial step towards our current success.
Keywords animal cognition   cognitive evolution   comparative psychology   episodic memory   memory systems   mental time travel   planning   prospection
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0140525X07001975
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,903
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2005 - MIT Press.
Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind?David Premack & G. Woodruff - 1978 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4 (4):515-629.
The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception.Marc H. Bornstein - 1980 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 39 (2):203-206.

View all 92 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Imagination.Shen-yi Liao & Tamar Gendler - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Memory as Mental Time Travel.Denis Perrin & Kourken Michaelian - 2017 - In Sven Bernecker & Kourken Michaelian (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Memory. Routledge. pp. 228-239.

View all 223 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Case for Time Travel.Phil Dowe - 2000 - Philosophy 75 (3):441-451.
The Paradoxes of Time Travel.Ken Perszyk & Nicholas J. J. Smith - 2001 - In Public lecture at Te Papa (National Museum of New Zealand).
No Time Travel for Presentists.Steven D. Hales - 2010 - Logos and Episteme 1 (2):353-360.
Troubles with Time Travel.William Grey - 1999 - Philosophy 74 (1):55-70.
Time Travel and Time Machines.Douglas Kutach - 2013 - In Adrian Bardon & Heather Dyke (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Time. Blackwell.
On Going Backward in Time.John Earman - 1967 - Philosophy of Science 34 (3):211-222.
The Time Machine in Our Mind.Kurt Stocker - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (3):385-420.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
344 ( #23,792 of 2,426,398 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
9 ( #76,634 of 2,426,398 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes