chapter  7
Moving Through Time: Mental Time Travel and Social Behavior
Pages 14

T ake yourself back to your first proper teenage kiss-pounding heart, sweaty palms, and all. Now transport yourself to a future vacation, somewhere on a tropical island with a warm breeze and a cool drink. Chances are that imagining such past and future scenarios is a relatively simple task. Indeed, the apparent ease and flexibility with which we can shift our mind away from the hereand-now showcases the uniquely human capacity for mental time travel (MTT). By reflecting on the past and anticipating the future, we can shape our behavior to satisfy both the challenges of daily life and our longer-term goals and ambitions. Immersed in a social world, MTT affords us the ability to mull over previous interactions as well as the foresight to predict the needs and intentions of others. To date, however, empirical research exploring MTT has primarily been focused on elucidating the neuro-anatomical correlates and conditions that lead to impairments to this social-cognitive ability. Little work has addressed questions regarding the core psychological characteristics of MTT-that is, how exactly is the mind transported through time?