A map of your brain’s in­ter­nal clocks

Popular Science - - CONTENTS -

YOUR MIND IS CON­STANTLY count­ing: the rhythm of your speech, the min­utes un­til your next snack, the aw­ful pause be­tween text mes­sages. With­out all that tal­ly­ing, you’d mis­in­ter­pret a friend’s mo­tives, or (hor­rors!) miss dough­nut time. So how does your clever nog­gin seam­lessly com­pute your life?

Neu­ro­sci­en­tists do not fully un­der­stand the pre­cise neu­ral dance—yet. But re­searchers do know that you can’t point to just one re­gion in your skull. Dif­fer­ent parts of our gray mat­ter re­spond to dif­fer­ent tim­ing tasks, and brain imag­ing has helped us parse which ar­eas do what. From drum­ming along with a mu­si­cal phrase to fig­ur­ing out how long a lec­ture has lasted, these spe­cial­ized ar­eas work to­gether to shape our tem­po­ral per­cep­tion.

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