The Theory of Mindtime and the Relationships Between Thinking Perspective and the Big Five Personality Traits

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Personality and Individual Differences

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This manuscript introduces a theory of individual differences based on the arguably unique ability of human beings to engage in mental time travel (Suddendorf & Corballis, 1997). The Theory of MindTime posits that the ability to engage in mental time travel gave rise to the development of three distinct patterns of thinking: Past thinking, Future thinking, and Present thinking, and that measurable individual differences exist in the extent to which each of the three thinking perspectives are utilized. In this manuscript, we present an overview of the theory and examine the construct validity of a three-dimensional measure of thinking based on the theory by examining relationships between scores on this measure with scores on Costa & McCrae’s (1992) Five-Factor Inventory (FFI). Data were collected from 819 undergraduate students (59.6% female; 83.3% Caucasian). In general, the results supported our hypotheses that Future, Past, and Present thinking would differentially relate to scores on subscales of the FFI.