Mental Mapping of Time and Space
We are not stuck in the immediate present but often wander along memories or future plans. Neural and behavioral data suggest that past and future thinking rely on a common set of cognitive operations. Starting from the hypothesis of a spatialization of mental time, I am trying to decipher the relations between the mental representations of time and space with chronometry, fMRI and MEG/EEG.
Our first work shows through a series of behavioral studies that mental time travel and mental space navigation undergoes two similar cognitive operations: self-projection and egocentric distance calculations. These operations allow the human mind to set egocentric cognitive maps. These mental maps seems distinct for time and space.
Our second study shows that fMRI correlates of self-projection and distance calculations are largely dissociated, although converging in right inferior parietal lobule. A confirmation for distinct cognitive maps but common computations.
Our ongoing analyses pertains the temporal dynamics of setting and maintainting egocentric cogntive maps across real time with the help of combined MEG/EEG. More information about this soon...
B Gauthier, V van Wassenhove, Time is not space: core computations and domain-specific networks for mental travels. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36 (47), 11891-11903 (2016)
B Gauthier, V van Wassenhove, Cognitive mapping in mental time travel and mental space navigation, Cognition 154, 55-68 (2016)