Locally distributed abstraction of temporal distance in human parietal cortex
An enduring puzzle in the neuroscience of memory is how the brain parsimoniously situates past events by their order in relation to time. By combining functional MRI, and representational similarity analysis, we reveal a multivoxel representation of time intervals separating pairs of episodic event-moments in the posterior medial memory system, especially when the events were experienced within a similar temporal context. We further show such multivoxel representations to be vulnerable to disruption through targeted repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and that perturbation to the mnemonic abstraction alters the neural—behavior relationship across the wider parietal memory network. Our findings establish a mnemonic “pattern-based” code of temporal distances in the human brain, a fundamental neural mechanism for supporting the temporal structure of past events, assigning the precuneus as a locus of flexibly effecting the manipulation of physical time during episodic memory retrieval.
- Ye, Q; Hu, Y; Ku, Y; Appiah, K; Kwok, SC
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