Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First evidence of common brain code for space, time, distance

Date:
February 4, 2014
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
A new study provides the first evidence that people use the same brain circuitry to figure out space, time and social distances. The results may help to determine whether we care enough to act: Is something happening here, now, to someone I love? Or over there, years from now, to a stranger?

A new Dartmouth study provides the first evidence that people use the same brain circuitry to figure out space, time and social distances.
Credit: James Steidl / Fotolia

A new Dartmouth study provides the first evidence that people use the same brain circuitry to figure out space, time and social distances.

The findings, which help reveal how our brains organize information and create our perspective of the world, appear in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The researchers looked at whether there is an overlap, or a common mechanism, in the brain areas used to represent time, space and social distances. They used fMRI to analyze the brain patterns of participants while they viewed objects photographed at different distances, viewed photos of friends or acquaintances and read phrases referring to the immediate or more remote future.

"The results showed that the same brain patterns that decide whether something is physically near to us versus far away also decide whether we are thinking about the near or distant future or seeing a friend versus an acquaintance," said senior author Thalia Wheatley, an associate professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences. "In other words, there is a common neural code for space, time and social distance. Near, now and dear (friends) activate one pattern and far, later and acquaintance activate a different pattern.

"There are interesting implications for this," she said. "For one, it suggests why we use distance metaphors to talk about time and friendship -- for example, close friends and distant relatives. These metaphors stick because they echo the very neural computations involved. Our brains use distance to understand time and social connectedness. This mapping function may have a particularly important benefit in determining whether we care enough to act: Is something happening here, now, to someone I love? Or over there, years from now, to a stranger?"


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Parkinson, S. Liu, T. Wheatley. A Common Cortical Metric for Spatial, Temporal, and Social Distance. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014; 34 (5): 1979 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2159-13.2014

Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "First evidence of common brain code for space, time, distance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204123730.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2014, February 4). First evidence of common brain code for space, time, distance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204123730.htm
Dartmouth College. "First evidence of common brain code for space, time, distance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140204123730.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Google (Kind Of) Complies With 'Right To Be Forgotten Law'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Google says it is following Europe's new "Right To Be Forgotten Law," which eliminates user information upon request, but only to a certain degree. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Stroke Signs: Three Hour Deadline

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) Sometimes the signs of a stroke are far from easy to recognize. Learn from one young father’s story on the signs of a stroke. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Grain Brain May Be Harming Us

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) Could eating carbohydrates be harmful to our brain health? Find out what one neurologist says about changing our diets. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Playground Tales: Learning to Socialize With Autism

Playground Tales: Learning to Socialize With Autism

Ivanhoe (July 31, 2014) Playgrounds are typically great places where kids can have fun while learning how to interact with other kids, but for some kids with autism, they can have the reverse effect. Hear how researchers are trying to change that. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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