Seminar: “The Ability to Think Outside the Here and Now and its Real-life Implications” by Ayşe Payır


“The Ability to Think Outside the Here and Now and its Real-life Implications”

by Ayşe Payır

 Date: 11 February 2021, Thursday
Time: 12:30-13:30
Place: Zoom Meeting


The ability to think outside the here and now is a fascinating aspect of human cognition. Without this capacity, which enables us to “mentally transcend time, place, and/or circumstance” (Taylor, 2003), there would be no social, cultural, or technological advances. This ability emerges early in life and lasts a lifetime: As young children, we engage in pretend play and become involved in the imaginary world of stories; as adults, we become absorbed in novels, tv shows, and films (Harris, 2000). What are the real-life implications of this ability to suspend current reality and speculate about different possibilities? In this talk, I will address this question drawing on my research that focuses on how children imagine alternatives to reality and how cultural input expands the scope of the alternatives they imagine.

Bio: Ayse Payir is a Postdoctoral Research Scientist working with Dr. Larisa Heiphetz at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the interplay between culture and the development of cognition, emotion, and morality from childhood to adulthood. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Yeditepe University in 2008 and her Master’s degree in general psychology from New York University in 2010. She completed her doctoral research in experimental developmental psychology with Robert Guttentag at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2016. Prior to her position at Columbia, she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Kathleen Corriveau (Boston University) and Paul Harris (Harvard University) from 2016 to 2019. To read more about Ayse’s research, please visit her website.