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Seeing the FutureTheoretical Perspectives on Future-Oriented Mental Time Travel$
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Kourken Michaelian, Stanley B. Klein, and Karl K. Szpunar

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190241537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190241537.001.0001

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Shaping One’s Future Self

Shaping One’s Future Self

The Development of Deliberate Practice

(p.343) 17 Shaping One’s Future Self
Seeing the Future

Thomas Suddendorf

Melissa Brinums

Kana Imuta

Oxford University Press

Deliberate practice, here defined as the ability to self-initiate mental or physical repetition with the goal of future skill improvement, is an important, but long overlooked, adaptive advantage of future-oriented mental time travel. There is as yet no evidence that non-human animals engage in deliberate practice, suggesting that it evolved only over the last 6 million years. The oldest indication of deliberate practice is currently associated with Homo erectus. Its emergence would have allowed hominins to become increasingly able to flexibly specialize, rapidly adapting skill sets to changing environments, and taking advantage of tools and teaching. The extensive variety of human skills today is to a large extent a function of this essential capacity, but little is known about its development. The authors conclude with a discussion of the cognitive capacities that may underlie the emergence of deliberate practice in children and present the first empirical attempts from their laboratory.

Keywords:   skill, mental time travel, teaching, cognition, Homo erectus

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