Priming the mental time line

Maria Grazia Di Bono, Marco Casarotti, Konstantinos Priftis, Lucia Gava, Carlo Umiltà, Marco Zorzi
2012 Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance  
Growing experimental evidence suggests that temporal events are represented on a mental time line, spatially oriented from left to right. Support for the spatial representation of time comes mostly from studies that have used spatially organized responses. Moreover, many of these studies did not avoid possible confounds attributable to target stimuli that simultaneously convey both spatial and temporal dimensions. Here we show that task-irrelevant, lateralized visuospatial primes affect
more » ... imes affect auditory duration judgments. Responses to short durations were faster when the auditory target was paired with left-than with right-sided primes, whereas responses to long durations were faster when paired with right-than with left-sided primes. Thus, when the representations of physical space and time are concurrently activated, physical space may influence time even when a lateralized, spatially encoded response is not required by the task. The time-space interaction reported here cannot be ascribed to any Spatial-Temporal Association of Response Codes effect. It supports the hypothesis that the representation of time is spatially organized, with short durations represented on the left space and longer ones on the right.
doi:10.1037/a0028346 pmid:22564162 fatcat:45nruo3jjzf25p7idww6i7ey4m