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Prospection refers broadly to the generation and evaluation of mental representations of possible futures. This ability fundamentally shapes human cognition, emotion, and motivation, and yet remains an understudied field of research, according to some psychologists.[1][2] For too long, they say, science has concentrated on how the past determines the present and the future; prospective psychology seeks to change this by moving prospection to the center of research on human action.[2][3]

Martin Seligman played a leading role in starting the positive psychology movement, but noticed a deeper flaw in psychology: many psychologists seemed to portray humans as driven by the past.[4] Thus, Seligman and others are leading an initiative on the study of prospective psychology, which is open to not only psychologists and neuroscientists, but also philosophers. Peter Railton, Roy F. Baumeister, and Chandra Sripada also lead the prospective psychology research movement.[2][3] However, not all psychologists agree with Seligman and his colleagues that prospection has been neglected in the past psychological literature.[5] Prospection, in the form of anticipation, was a central part of George Kelly's personal construct theory, first published in 1955.[6]

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  1. ^ "Authentic Happiness: Prospective Psychology". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Seligman, Martin E. P.; Railton, Peter; Baumeister, Roy F.; Sripada, Chandra (March 2013). "Navigating into the future or driven by the past" (PDF). Perspectives on Psychological Science. 8 (2): 119–141. doi:10.1177/1745691612474317. PMID 26172493. 
  3. ^ a b "Prospective Psychology". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  4. ^ Seligman, Martin E. P. "Prospecting the Future". YouTube. Adelaide Thinkers in Residence. Retrieved 13 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Fukukura, Jun; Helzer, Erik G.; Ferguson, Melissa J. (March 2013). "Prospection by any other name? A response to Seligman et al. (2013)" (PDF). Perspectives on Psychological Science. 8 (2): 146–150. doi:10.1177/1745691612474320. PMID 26172495. 
  6. ^ Kelly, George (1991) [1955]. The psychology of personal constructs. London; New York: Routledge in association with the Centre for Personal Construct Psychology. ISBN 0415037999. OCLC 21760190. 

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