The ultrafast proton transfer dynamics of salicylideneaniline has been theoretically analyzed in the ground and first singlet excited electronic states using density functional theory (DFT) and time-dependent DFT calculations, which predict a (π, π +) barrierless excited state intramolecular proton transfer (ESIPT). In addition to this, the photochemistry of salicylideneaniline is experimentally known to present fast depopulation processes of the photoexcited species before and after the proton transfer reaction. Such processes are explained by means of conical intersections between the ground and first singlet (π, π +) excited electronic states. The electronic energies obtained by the time-dependent density functional theory formalism have been fitted to a monodimensional potential energy surface in order to perform quantum dynamics study of the processes. Our results show that the proton transfer and deactivation of the photoexcited species before the ESIPT processes are completed within 49.6 and 37.7 fs, respectively, which is in remarkable good agreement with experiments. © 2008 American Institute of Physics.