I have a question. I read somewhere, but can't remember now.

What is the name of the time travel scenario used in science fiction where you travel back in time in your own body?

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    The name for this sort of time travel could vary broadly from work to work. If you are looking for a real-life definition, I would recommend English Language and Usage. – Adamant Sep 7 '16 at 0:16
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    The answer is that there is no generally accepted name for that type of time travel. Richard Horton calls it Time Travel Via One's Own Thread of Consciousness and describes it this way: "This list includes stories about people who travel through time along their own thread of consciousness. Typically, this means their future self 'possesses', if you will, their past self and relives a scene. One may or may not have the ability to act independently: typically not." – user14111 Sep 7 '16 at 0:25
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    @Adamant "What is the name for this kind of time travel" belongs on scifi.SE just as surely as "what is the name for this kind of function" belongs on math.SE; nobody would refer the latter question to an English language site. Anyway, we surely have enough serious constructive questions about "how do they dispose of used condoms in Star Trek" and "does Harry wear boxers of briefs", that we may be permitted the occasional fun question like this one. BTW, "there is no commonly accepted term" is an ANSWER, probably correct, but I'd -1 it for lack of evidence. – user14111 Sep 7 '16 at 0:46
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    @Adamant So according to you, we have to know the answer to the question, in order to know if it's on topic or not? If there is no such term, then that is the answer. But I'd like to see that posted as an actual answer, with evidence and citations, rather than rely on a comment from an anonymous user (not even on the "top users" list for the time-travel tag) telling me "if there was such a term I would have heard of it." – user14111 Sep 7 '16 at 3:02
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    TVTropes calls this Mental Time Travel. – Joe L. Sep 7 '16 at 15:09

The term for a mind migrating from one body to another is metempsychosis. Mental time travel might be called transtemporal metempsychosis. However, since this form of metempsychosis involves time travel and the person replacing their own mind with their own mind, this term can be expanded to become chronautometempsychois. Literally, time-self-mindswap.

Most people will prefer to keep it simple. For example, psychic time-travel has been used to describe this and that's clear enough.


The idea of this type of personal life-regression time travel has been used many, many times in all forms of media. (tvtropes link). But as far as I can tell, there's no generally agreed-on name for it.

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