The cognitive bases of the development of past and future episodic cognition in preschoolers

ÜNAL G., Hohenberger A.

JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL CHILD PSYCHOLOGY, vol.162, pp.242-258, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 162
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.05.014
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.242-258
  • Keywords: Episodic memory, Episodic future thinking, Minimalism, Mental time travel, Cognitive development, What-where-when task, MENTAL TIME-TRAVEL, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION, MEMORY DEVELOPMENT, FORESIGHT, MIND, THINKING, CHILDREN
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this study was to use a minimalist framework to examine the joint development of past and future episodic cognition and their underlying cognitive abilities in 3- to 5-year-old Turkish preschoolers. Participants engaged in two main tasks, a what-where-when (www) task to measure episodic memory and a future prediction task to measure episodic future thinking. Three additional tasks were used for predicting children's performance in the two main tasks: a temporal language task, an executive function task, and a spatial working memory task. Results indicated that past and future episodic tasks were significantly correlated with each other even after controlling for age. Hierarchical multiple regressions showed that, after controlling for age, the www task was predicted by executive functions, possibly supporting binding of episodic information and by linguistic abilities. The future prediction task was predicted by linguistic abilities alone, underlining the importance of language for episodic past and future thinking. (C) 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.