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J Cogn Neurosci. 2019 Dec;31(12):1796-1826. doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01459. Epub 2019 Aug 16.

The Neural Correlates of Time: A Meta-analysis of Neuroimaging Studies.

Author information

1
GCS-fMRI, Koelliker Hospital, Turin, Italy.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Turin.

Abstract

During the last two decades, our inner sense of time has been repeatedly studied with the help of neuroimaging techniques. These investigations have suggested the specific involvement of different brain areas in temporal processing. At least two distinct neural systems are likely to play a role in measuring time: One is mainly constituted of subcortical structures and is supposed to be more related to the estimation of time intervals below the 1-sec range (subsecond timing tasks), and the other is mainly constituted of cortical areas and is supposed to be more related to the estimation of time intervals above the 1-sec range (suprasecond timing tasks). Tasks can then be performed in motor or nonmotor (perceptual) conditions, thus providing four different categories of time processing. Our meta-analytical investigation partly confirms the findings of previous meta-analytical works. Both sub- and suprasecond tasks recruit cortical and subcortical areas, but subcortical areas are more intensely activated in subsecond tasks than in suprasecond tasks, which instead receive more contributions from cortical activations. All the conditions, however, show strong activations in the SMA, whose rostral and caudal parts have an important role not only in the discrimination of different time intervals but also in relation to the nature of the task conditions. This area, along with the striatum (especially the putamen) and the claustrum, is supposed to be an essential node in the different networks engaged when the brain creates our sense of time.

PMID:
31418337
DOI:
10.1162/jocn_a_01459

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