Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Paper Session #424
Mental Time Travel and Episodic Future Thinking: "Seeing" the Future from A Radical Behavioristic Approach
Monday, May 30, 2022
8:30 AM–8:55 AM
Meeting Level 1; Room 156B
Area: PCH
Chair: Andres H. Garcia-Penagos (California State University, Chico)

Mental Time Travel and Episodic Future Thinking: "Seeing" the Future from a Radical Behavioristic Approach

Domain: Theory
ANDRES H. GARCIA-PENAGOS (California State University, Chico)

Since Tulving's coining of the term "episodic memory" in the early 1990s, cognitivist psychologists and other researchers have been given increased attention to so-called mental time travel (MTT), defined as "the faculty that allows humans to mentally project themselves backwards in time to re-live, or forwards to pre-live, events" (Suddendorf & Corballis 1997). Regardless of the conceptual and epistemological problems involved in such definition, research on this area has accumulated, particularly in regard to the importance of future-oriented mental time travel for decision making. Not surprisingly, then, behavioral researchers interested in impulsive behavior have been giving increasing attention to the implications of this research in the understanding of impulsive choices and its treatment. Can the notion of future-oriented mental time travel be accommodated in a radical behaviorist account of decision-making? Is it necessary? This paper will review the conceptual development of the term and will advance the proposal that, with some caveats, future-oriented mental time travel can be understood as a temporally extended pattern of observable behavior, and hence that it's compatible, under some circumstances, with the tenets of radical behaviorism as a philosophy of psychology




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