Date: March 31, 2021 03:00-04:30 PM

Speakers: Annick Tanguay, Olivia Gardam

Title: Can we improve future thinking in children with an episodic specificity induction?

Location: Online


Future thinking permeates a host of activities in daily life, including foregoing an unhealthy treat, saving money, remembering to finish one’s homework, and bringing enough food to satisfy cravings on outings. Children, like adults, can benefit from improved future thinking skills. Recent research suggests that reading a story featuring one’s future self or answering factual questions about future events can improve future thinking in children (Chernyak et al., 2017; Leech et al., 2019). In adults, recollecting or imagining a detailed event (i.e., an episodic specificity induction) rather than simply generating facts or isolated details appears essential to the improvement of future thinking (e.g., Madore et al., 2019). In a first study, we aimed to examine whether an episodic specificity induction could enhance future thinking skills in children aged 6 and 7 years old, with the assumption that benefits could be even larger than seen in previous interventions. During this talk, we will discuss our study and present preliminary results.


Annick Tanguay: Annick’s research focuses on how children and adults think about the past and future. She is particularly interested in the interplay between semantic and episodic memory when thinking about the past and future. Annick completed her doctorate at the University of Ottawa with Dr. Patrick Davidson. She transited through the Rotman Research Institute before returning to the University of Ottawa as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Cristina Atance’s laboratory.

 Olivia Gardam: Olivia is a 4th year undergraduate student completing her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Her research interests include early cognitive development, as well as the underlying cognitive biases that impact people’s mental health. She is currently working with Dr. Cristina Atance and Dr. Annick Tanguay for her Honours thesis on the influence of an Episodic Specificity Induction on episodic future thinking in young children and hopes to pursue doctoral studies in clinical psychology