Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Moving through time: Thinking of the past or future causes us to sway backward or forward

Date:
January 26, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Thinking of the past or future causes us to sway backward or forward.

Although we can't technically travel through time (yet), when we think of the past or the future we engage in a sort of mental time travel. This uniquely human ability to psychologically travel through time arguably sets us apart from other species.

Researchers have recently looked at how mental time travel is represented in the sensorimotor systems that regulate human movement. It turns out our perceptions of space and time are tightly coupled.

University of Aberdeen psychological scientists Lynden Miles, Louise Nind and Neil Macrae conducted a study to measure this in the lab. They fitted participants with a motion sensor while they imagined either future or past events. The researchers found that thinking about past or future events can literally move us: Engaging in mental time travel (a.k.a. chronesthesia) resulted in physical movements corresponding to the metaphorical direction of time. Those who thought of the past swayed backward while those who thought of the future moved forward.

These findings reported online in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggest that chronesthesia may be grounded in processes that link spatial and temporal metaphors (e.g., future= forward, past= backward) to our systems of perception and action.

"The embodiment of time and space yields an overt behavioral marker of an otherwise invisible mental operation," explains Miles and colleagues.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lynden K. Miles, Louise K. Nind, and C. Neil Macrae. Moving Through Time. Psychological Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1177/0956797609359333

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Moving through time: Thinking of the past or future causes us to sway backward or forward." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121135859.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, January 26). Moving through time: Thinking of the past or future causes us to sway backward or forward. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121135859.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Moving through time: Thinking of the past or future causes us to sway backward or forward." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100121135859.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins