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Acta Neurobiol Exp (Wars). 2004;64(3):329-40.

The neural correlates of cognitive time management: a review.

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  • 1Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, London, United Kingdom.


Cognitive time management is an important aspect of human behaviour and cognition that has so far been understudied. Functional imaging studies in recent years have tried to identify the neural correlates of several timing functions, ranging from simple motor tapping to higher cognitive time estimation functions. Several regions of the frontal lobes, in particular dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), inferior prefrontal cortex (IFC), anterior cingulate gyrus (ACG) and the supplementary motor area (SMA), alongside non-frontal brain regions such as the inferior parietal lobes, the cerebellum and the basal ganglia have been found to be involved in tasks of motor timing and time estimation. In this paper we review and discuss the involvement of these brain regions in different tasks of cognitive time management, illustrating it with own findings on motor timing and time perception tasks using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The review shows that the same brain regions are involved in both motor timing and time estimation, suggesting that both functions are probably inseparable and mediated by common neural networks.

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