Research Topic

Temporal Cognition: Its Development, Neurocognitive Basis, Relationships to Other Cognitive Domains, and Uniquely Human Aspects

About this Research Topic

Humans manifest an acute awareness of the passage of time and capacity for mental time travel, i.e., the ability to mentally place oneself in the past or future, as well as in counterfactual or hypothetical situations. The ability to perceive, estimate, and keep track of time involves multiple forms of representation (temporal concepts and frames of reference) and sensory modalities. Temporal cognition plays a critical role in various forms of memory (e.g., autobiographical memory, episodic memory, prospective memory), future-oriented thinking (foresight, planning), self-concepts, and autonoetic consciousness. The proposed Research Topic addresses the myriad ways that temporal cognition impacts human behavior, how it develops, its clinical relevance, and the extent to which aspects of temporal cognition are uniquely human.

The Research Topic will explore the following issues:

1. When does temporal cognition emerge in early childhood and how does it develop? Articles might address, for example, the development of time perception, time estimation, time concepts, autobiographical memory, episodic foresight, and prospective memory.

2. What is the neurocognitive basis of temporal cognition? Articles might address how temporal cognition is impacted by aging and by developmental and acquired disorders (e.g., personality disorders, amnesia, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder), and how temporal cognition influences psychological functioning (e.g., impulsivity, self-regulation).

3. How is temporal cognition related to other domains? Articles might address, for example, the role of sensori-motor imagery and/or language in temporal cognition.

4. What aspects of temporal cognition are uniquely human? Articles might address, for example, the extent to which other species engage in future oriented planning and thought.

Authors from all areas of psychology and neuroscience are encouraged to submit articles of any format accepted by the journal (Original Research, Methods, Hypothesis & Theory, Reviews, etc.), which might speak to the questions above.


Keywords: temporal cognition, mental time travel, time estimation, episodic memory, episodic foresight


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Humans manifest an acute awareness of the passage of time and capacity for mental time travel, i.e., the ability to mentally place oneself in the past or future, as well as in counterfactual or hypothetical situations. The ability to perceive, estimate, and keep track of time involves multiple forms of representation (temporal concepts and frames of reference) and sensory modalities. Temporal cognition plays a critical role in various forms of memory (e.g., autobiographical memory, episodic memory, prospective memory), future-oriented thinking (foresight, planning), self-concepts, and autonoetic consciousness. The proposed Research Topic addresses the myriad ways that temporal cognition impacts human behavior, how it develops, its clinical relevance, and the extent to which aspects of temporal cognition are uniquely human.

The Research Topic will explore the following issues:

1. When does temporal cognition emerge in early childhood and how does it develop? Articles might address, for example, the development of time perception, time estimation, time concepts, autobiographical memory, episodic foresight, and prospective memory.

2. What is the neurocognitive basis of temporal cognition? Articles might address how temporal cognition is impacted by aging and by developmental and acquired disorders (e.g., personality disorders, amnesia, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder), and how temporal cognition influences psychological functioning (e.g., impulsivity, self-regulation).

3. How is temporal cognition related to other domains? Articles might address, for example, the role of sensori-motor imagery and/or language in temporal cognition.

4. What aspects of temporal cognition are uniquely human? Articles might address, for example, the extent to which other species engage in future oriented planning and thought.

Authors from all areas of psychology and neuroscience are encouraged to submit articles of any format accepted by the journal (Original Research, Methods, Hypothesis & Theory, Reviews, etc.), which might speak to the questions above.


Keywords: temporal cognition, mental time travel, time estimation, episodic memory, episodic foresight


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area! Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author.

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Submission Deadlines

19 January 2018 Abstract
20 July 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

19 January 2018 Abstract
20 July 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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