Representation of time intervals in the right posterior parietal cortex: implications for a mental time line.

Massimiliano Oliveri, Emanuele Lo Gerfo, Carlo Caltagirone, Silvia Salerno, Giacomo Koch, Sara Torriero, Massimiliano Oliveri

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Abstract

Space and time interact with each other in the cognitive system. Recent studies indicate the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) as the neural correlate of spatial-temporal interactions. We studied whether the contribution of the PPC becomes critical in tasks requiring the performance of spatial computations on time intervals. We adopted an integrated neuropsychological and transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) approach, presenting behavioural timing tasks to both healthy subjects and right-brain-damaged patients with and without evidence of spatial neglect. rTMS of the right PPC of healthy subjects induced a lateralised bias during a task requiring setting the midpoint of a time interval. This bias mimicked the rightward bias observed in tasks requiring setting the midpoint of line intervals. These effects were selectively encountered when rTMS was applied during the retrieval phase of the task, while no effects were observed during the initial encoding phase of the time interval. Similar effects were also observed during bisection of time intervals by right-brain-damaged patients with spatial neglect. The specific role of the right PPC in bisection of physical intervals was confirmed by an experiment in which line segments were used. These findings document the neural correlates of spatial-temporal interactions and argue for a linear metric representation of time intervals.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1173-1179
Numero di pagine7
RivistaNeuroImage
Volume46
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2009

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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Oliveri, M., Gerfo, E. L., Caltagirone, C., Salerno, S., Koch, G., Torriero, S., & Oliveri, M. (2009). Representation of time intervals in the right posterior parietal cortex: implications for a mental time line. NeuroImage, 46, 1173-1179.