Experiencing past and future personal events: Functional neuroimaging evidence on the neural bases of mental time travel

Anne Botzung, Ekaterina Denkova, Lilianne Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

226 Scopus citations

Abstract

Functional MRI was used in healthy subjects to investigate the existence of common neural structures supporting re-experiencing the past and pre-experiencing the future. Past and future events evocation appears to involve highly similar patterns of brain activation including, in particular, the medial prefrontal cortex, posterior regions and the medial temporal lobes. This result seems to support the view of a common neurocognitive system, which would allow humans to mentally travel through time. Past events recollection was associated with greater amplitude of hippocampal and anterior medial prefrontal hemodynamic responses. This result is discussed in terms of the involvement of the self in the conscious experience of past and future events representations. More generally, our data provide new evidence in favour of the idea that re- and pre-experiencing past and future events may rely on similar cognitive capacities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-212
Number of pages11
JournalBrain and Cognition
Volume66
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Autobiographical memory
  • Event-related fMRI
  • HRF estimation analysis
  • Mental time travel
  • Pre-experiencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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