School of Psychology - Directory - People - Dr Jonathan Redshaw

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Dr Jonathan Redshaw

Picture of 'Dr Jonathan Redshaw'
Dr Jonathan Redshaw
Jon's research primarily focuses on the development of various cognitive capacities in infants and preschoolers. During his PhD at UQ, he documented the emergence of a number of future-oriented behaviours in children aged 2 to 5. He showed that, during this period, children become capable of: acting in the present to obtain a future reward, seeking information that will become useful in the future, remembering to perform a future action in the absence of reminder cues, and preparing for multiple, mutually exclusive future event outcomes. Jon is also interested in the role of metarepresentation (i.e., representing representations as representations) in mental time travel, with a focus on whether young children and non-human animals understand that representations of the future can be misleading. He has developed a nonverbal paradigm to begin to address this question in preschoolers and great apes. Jon's postdoctoral research will be conducted in the Early Cognitive Development Centre at UQ. He will examine the development and function of neonatal imitation with a longitudinal design, and will also test monolingual and bilingual children's early understanding of counting principles.
+617 3365 4466
Postal Address:
School of Psychology
McElwain Building
The University of Queensland
St Lucia, QLD 4072

Picture of 'Dr Jonathan Redshaw'
Dr Jonathan Redshaw
Representative Publications:

Suddendorf, T., & Redshaw, J. (accepted). Anticipation of future events. In J. Vonk & T. K. Shackleford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior.

Redshaw, J., & Suddendorf, T. Misconceptions about adaptive function (accepted). Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Tillman, K., Monier, F., Zhang, M., Redshaw, J., & McCormack, T. (in press). Time on the mind of a child: Perspectives on the development of temporal cognition. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.

Kennedy-Costantini, S., Oostenbroek, J., Suddendorf, T., Nielsen, M., Redshaw, J., Davis, J., Clark, S., & Slaughter, S. (in press). There is no compelling evidence that human neonates imitate. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Redshaw, J., & Bulley, A. (in press). Future thinking in animals: Capacities and limits. In G. Oettingen, A. T. Sevincer, & P. Gollwitzer, The psychology of thinking about the future. New York: Guilford.

Suddendorf, T., Crimston, J., & Redshaw, J. (2017). Preparatory responses to socially determined, mutually exclusive possibilities in chimpanzees and children. Biology Letters, 13(6), 20170170.

Redshaw, J., & Suddendorf, T. (2016). Children's and apes' preparatory responses to two mutually exclusive possibilities. Current Biology, 26(13), 1758-1762.

Oostenbroek, J., Suddendorf, T., Nielsen, M., Redshaw, J., Kennedy-Costantini, S., Davis, J., Clark, S., & Slaughter, V. (2016). Comprehensive longitudinal study challenges the existence of neonatal imitation in humans. Current Biology, 26(10), 1334-1338.

Redshaw, J., Henry, J.D., & Suddendorf, T. (2016). Disentangling the effect of event-based cues on children's time-based prospective memory performance. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 150, 130-140.

Redshaw, J. (2014). Does metarepresentation make human mental time travel unique?. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 5(5), 519-531.

Redshaw, J., & Suddendorf, T. (2013). Foresight beyond the very next event: four-year-olds can link past and deferred future episodes. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, 404.

Suddendorf, T., & Redshaw, J. (2013). The development of mental scenario building and episodic foresight. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1296(1), 135-153.

Course Coordinator:
  • Semester 2, 2015
    PSYC2050 - Learning and Cognition
Course Tutor:
  • Semester 1, 2014
    PSYC3262 - Evolutionary Approaches to Human Behaviour
  • Semester 1, 2014
    PSYC2050 - Learning and Cognition
  • Semester 2, 2014
    PSYC2050 - Learning and Cognition
  • Semester 2, 2013
    PSYC3262 - Evolutionary Approaches to Human Behaviour
  • Semester 1, 2012
    PSYC3262 - Evolutionary Approaches to Human Behaviour
  • Semester 1, 2011
    PSYC3262 - Evolutionary Approaches to Human Behaviour
Course Coordinator:
  • Semester 2, 2014
    PSYC2050 - Learning and Cognition

Note: Coordinator roles prior to 2009 and tutor roles prior to 2006 are not included.

Research Area:
Cognitive Development

My research primarily focuses on the development of episodic foresight (thinking about the future) in children. I have a few possible projects in this area, all with the ultimate aim of publication. You are welcome to work on these projects but I am also very open to other ideas.

1. Preparing for mutually exclusive future possibilities: Recent research from our lab shows that children become able to mentally represent and prepare for mutually exclusive versions of the future during the preschool years. But why do younger children struggle with this type of reasoning? One possibility is that they fail to understand that their predictions about future events can be incorrect. Potential projects would involve working with typically developing children (and possibly children with autism) to make progress on this question.

2. Strategic reminder setting to aid prospective memory: Prospective memory involves remembering to perform an action at a specific future occasion. Adults often use external aids, such as calendars and alarms, to help us remember what to do and when to do it. When do children spontaneously do the same, and what are the cognitive processes responsible? Moreover, is this capacity less functional in certain clinical groups, such as those with schizophrenia or autism?

3. Means-end reasoning to achieve a future goal: Classic research shows that chimpanzees can mentally reason backwards through several steps to solve a complex problem and achieve a goal. When can children do this, and is it related to inhibitory control and other executive functions?

4. How much effort will preschoolers expend to obtain future rewards? Parents often use future rewards to motivate their children to do chores (e.g., "if you put away your toys then you can watch TV tonight"). But it remains largely unknown how children are influenced by the size and nature of the future reward. When there are more rewards available, will they work harder on a task to maximise their future benefit?

Please feel free to send me an email ( if you would like to meet and discuss potential projects.

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