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Eye movements during mental time travel follow a diagonal line


Hartmann, Matthias N; Martarelli, Corinna S; Mast, Fred W; Stocker, Kurt (2014). Eye movements during mental time travel follow a diagonal line. Consciousness and Cognition, 30:201-209.

Abstract

Recent research showed that past events are associated with the back and left side, whereas future events are associated with the front and right side of space. These spatial-temporal associations have an impact on our sensorimotor system: thinking about one's past and future leads to subtle body sways in the sagittal dimension of space (Miles, Nind, & Macrae, 2010). In this study we investigated whether mental time travel leads to sensorimotor correlates in the horizontal dimension of space. Participants were asked to mentally displace themselves into the past or future while measuring their spontaneous eye movements on a blank screen. Eye gaze was directed more rightward and upward when thinking about the future than when thinking about the past. Our results provide further insight into the spatial nature of temporal thoughts, and show that not only body, but also eye movements follow a (diagonal) "time line" during mental time travel.

Abstract

Recent research showed that past events are associated with the back and left side, whereas future events are associated with the front and right side of space. These spatial-temporal associations have an impact on our sensorimotor system: thinking about one's past and future leads to subtle body sways in the sagittal dimension of space (Miles, Nind, & Macrae, 2010). In this study we investigated whether mental time travel leads to sensorimotor correlates in the horizontal dimension of space. Participants were asked to mentally displace themselves into the past or future while measuring their spontaneous eye movements on a blank screen. Eye gaze was directed more rightward and upward when thinking about the future than when thinking about the past. Our results provide further insight into the spatial nature of temporal thoughts, and show that not only body, but also eye movements follow a (diagonal) "time line" during mental time travel.

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12 citations in Web of Science®
4 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:November 2014
Deposited On:31 Dec 2014 09:00
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:40
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1053-8100
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2014.09.007
PubMed ID:25307523

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