Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
University of Warwick Featured PhD Programmes
Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

Mental Time Travel – what developmental studies can tell us about the evolution of episodic memory and future thinking.

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  • Full or part time
    Dr G Martin-Ordas
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD studentship to investigate the development of Mental Time Travel (i.e., episodic memory and future thinking). The supervisors will be Dr Gema Martin-Ordas (University of Stirling, UK) and Dr Mathias Osvath (Lund University, Sweden). Understanding the human mind and, in particular, what perhaps makes humans unique is a question that has attracted extraordinary attention over the last 20 years. Advances in the field of comparative psychology have shown that abilities such as episodic memory and future thinking might not be unique to our species (e.g., Kabadayi, & Osvath, 2017; Martin-Ordas et al., 2010; Martin-Ordas et al., 2013; Osvath & Martin-Ordas, 2014; Osvath & Osvath, 2008). However, a potential limitation with these studies is that it is difficult to clearly identify the cognitive mechanisms underlying animals’ behaviour. Research with humans (i.e., children) will benefit the field of comparative psychology by providing a clearer picture of the cognitive mechanisms necessary to succeed in these experimental paradigms. This PhD project will investigate this issue by adapting methodologies previously used with non-human animals for use with 3-, 4- and 5- year old children. The results of this research will help providing an understanding of what cognitive mechanisms underlie performance in previous methodologies used to test Mental Time Travel as well as with possible differences and similarities between humans and other animals.

Application Requirements:
Eligible applicants should –
• Hold a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. A relevant MSc qualification is desirable.
• Previous experience conducting research with children highly desirable.
• Experience with R for data manipulation and analysis desirable.

To apply please include:
(i) One A4 page covering letter outlining your suitability for the position.
(ii) Academic CV with two academic references.

Please apply online via:

The deadline for the applications is 20th of February 2020. Informal enquiries to Gema Martin-Ordas ([Email Address Removed]) and Mathias Osvath ([Email Address Removed])

Funding Notes

The PhD project is self-funded. Tuition fees are available at:


Kabadayi, C. and Osvath, M. (2017) Ravens parallel great apes in flexible planning for tool-use and bartering. Science, 357, 202–204.

Martin-Ordas G, Berntsen D, Call J. 2013 Memory for distant past events in chimpanzees and orangutans. Current Biology, 23, 1438– 1441.

Martin-Ordas, G., Haun, D., Colmenares, F. & Call, J. (2010). Keeping track of time: evidence for episodic-like memory in great apes. Animal Cognition, 13, 331-340.

Osvath, M. & Martin-Ordas, G. (2014) The future of future oriented cognition in non-humans: theory and the empirical case of the great apes. Philosophical Transactions B: Biological Sciences, 369 (1655), Art. No.: 20130486.

Osvath, M. & Osvath, H. (2008). Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and orang-utan (Pongo abelii) forethought: Self-control and pre-experience in the face of future tool use. Animal Cognition, 11, 661-674.

How good is research at University of Stirling in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 14.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.