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Introductory slides to CNS 2019 Mental Models of Time
Our symposium will focus on current working hypotheses suggesting that the construction of ordinal sequences and temporal reasoning may be necessary for an intelligible and conscious representation of time. Recent neuroscientific work suggests that algorithms dedicated to the mapping of space may also serve the mapping of time (Buzsáki & Moser, Nat Neurosci 2013). However, a great majority of studies focuses on the individual physically or virtually moving in its environment, so that the traversed spatial and temporal dimensions of the world fully correlate (as a function of the animal’s speed). As part of a dedicated navigational system, time and speed cells may contribute to the mapping of time (Kropff et al, 2015; Tsao et al, 2018), but what happens to our mental representation of time when the body does not move? Is memory retrieval sufficient to build the psychological arrow of time, past, present and future? To which extent ordering information along the time dimension may, or not, require dedicated operations as compared to imagining spatial representations? In this symposium, we will discuss recent empirical work focus on how memorized events and their temporal structure are endogenously manipulated, and ordered to build conscious narratives possibly feeding a mental model of time.