Nonevidence for temporal asymmetry

Scientists often assume that the human brain is inherently designed for prediction. But there have been precious few behavioral studies giving evidence for this thesis.

Jones and Pashler of UCSD attempt to create a model for this in their recent paper, by looking at whether individuals are more skilled at prediction or retrodiction. In their experiment, they found no statistical differences between these two skills. This is a fascinating result, as it suggests that the assumed paradigm of temporal assymetry may have to be overturned. The paper is freely available online, and it is nice and short, so you should read it for yourself.


Jones J, Pashler H 2007 Is the mind inherently forward looking? Comparing prediction and retrodiction. Psychonomic bulletin and Review, article in press. Available here.