Biology & Philosophy

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 699–710

Feeling the future: prospects for a theory of implicit prospection


DOI: 10.1007/s10539-013-9408-9

Cite this article as:
Gerrans, P. & Sander, D. Biol Philos (2014) 29: 699. doi:10.1007/s10539-013-9408-9


Mental time travel refers to the ability of an organism to project herself backward and forward in time, using episodic memory and imagination to simulate past and future experiences. The evolution of mental time travel gives humans a unique capacity for prospection: the ability to pre-experience the future. Discussions of mental time travel treat it as an instance of explicit prospection. We argue that implicit simulations of past and future experience can also be used as a way of gaining information about the future to shape preferences and guide behaviour.


Mental time travel Somatic marker hypothesis Implicit processes Iowa gambling task Prospection 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Centre for Affective SciencesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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