Thursday, January 13, 2011

Scientists Find Evidence of Mental Time Travel

The ability to remember the past and imagine the future can significantly affect a person's decisions in life. Scientists refer to the brain’s ability to think about the past, present, and future as "chronesthesia," or mental time travel, although little is known about which parts of the brain are responsible for these conscious experiences.

In a new study, researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural correlates of mental time travel and better understand the nature of the mental time in which the metaphorical "travel" occurs.

"Mental time travel consists of two independent sets of processes: (1) those that determine the contents of any act of such ‘travel’: what happens, who are the 'actors,' where does the action occur; it is similar to the contents of watching a movie – everything that you see on the screen; and (2) those that determine the subjective moment of time in which the action takes place – past, present, or future," Tulving told


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