CFP: Memory, Mental Time Travel, and Self-Control

Submission deadline: March 31, 2017

Conference date(s):
July 21, 2017

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Conference Venue:

University of Roma Tre
Roma, Italy


Human beings are not stuck in time: we have the capacity to mentally project ourselves into the personal past and future. This capacity to move back and forth in subjective time is known as “mental time travel” (MTT). MTT is thought to be adaptive: using memory to think about what the future may hold enables us to make decisions in the present. Indeed, MTT might be crucially involved in overcoming the tendency to discount future rewards. We tend to want things now, rather than wait for the future, seeking immediate gratification at the expense of long-term reward, but MTT may help overcome this tendency.

In this one day workshop we will explore philosophical and psychological perspectives on memory, mental time travel, and self-control. How does memory relate to MTT? Is remembering the past qualitatively continuous with imagining the future, or are they distinct kinds of process or states? Can MTT help overcome temporal discounting? If so by what mechanisms does MTT improve self-control? Is MTT an effective means of self-control across different groups: e.g., in children, or in subjects with pathologies or developmental or behavioural conditions? Do animals exhibit self-control, and if so how does their exercise of self-control differ from that of humans? What exactly is self-control?

Invited Speakers:

  • Dorothea Debus (University of York)
  • Natalie Gold (King’s College London)
  • Christoph Hoerl (University of Warwick)
  • Teresa McCormack (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • Markus Werning (Ruhr University Bochum)

Call for Abstracts:

Abstract submissions are invited on themes related to the workshop. Please submit abstracts of no more than 500 words by *31 March 2017*. We have a few open slots for presentations from participants, and we will also hold an academic poster session. If your paper is not accepted for presentation we may offer you the option of presenting a poster. Please indicate whether you wish to present your paper as a talk or a poster and whether you wish to be considered for a poster slot should the programme be filled. All submissions should be suitable for a presentation of approximately 20 minutes in length (followed by 10 minutes discussion). Please email submissions to

Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by the programme committee, and decisions on acceptance will be notified by *1 May 2017*. We anticipate subsequent publication of refereed conference proceedings. Further details on conference registration (free), accommodation, social events, and local information will follow.

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