Research Article: Motor and Linguistic Linking of Space and Time in the Cerebellum

Date Published: November 20, 2009

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Massimiliano Oliveri, Sonia Bonnì, Patrizia Turriziani, Giacomo Koch, Emanuele Lo Gerfo, Sara Torriero, Carmelo Mario Vicario, Laura Petrosini, Carlo Caltagirone, Edwin Robertson.

Abstract: Recent literature documented the presence of spatial-temporal interactions in the human brain. The aim of the present study was to verify whether representation of past and future is also mapped onto spatial representations and whether the cerebellum may be a neural substrate for linking space and time in the linguistic domain. We asked whether processing of the tense of a verb is influenced by the space where response takes place and by the semantics of the verb.

Partial Text: Time perception can be distorted by a number of factors [1]. Spatial attention is one of such factors, able to affect the perception of time as well as of other magnitudes [2]. Indeed, recent studies suggested that representation of elapsing time is likely to be visuospatial in nature. Vicario et al. [3] used optokinetic stimulation as a technique to induce manipulation of spatial attention before time judgement tasks of sub-second intervals. They found that moving attention to the right led to overestimation of time intervals, while moving attention to the left induced underestimation of time intervals.

The main results of the present study show a spatial-temporal association of response codes in a task requiring to match the tense of verbs with side of space: healthy subjects are faster and more accurate in responding to future tense of a verb in the right space and to past tense of a verb in the left space.



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