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Front. Comput. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fncom.2018.00011

Temporal Dissociation of Neocortical and Hippocampal Contributions to Mental Time Travel Using Intracranial Recordings in Humans

  • 1Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2Hadassah Medical Center, Israel
  • 3Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), Switzerland
  • 4Campus Biotech, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland

In mental time travel (MTT) one is “traveling” back-and-forth in time, remembering and imagining events. Despite intensive research regarding memory processes in the hippocampus, it was only recently shown that the hippocampus plays an essential role in encoding the temporal order of events remembered, and therefore plays an important role in MTT. Does it also encode the temporal relations of these events to the remembering self? We asked patients undergoing pre-surgical evaluation with depth electrodes penetrating the temporal lobes bilaterally towards the hippocampus to project themselves in time to a past, future or present time-point, and then make judgments regarding various events. Classification analysis of intracranial evoked potentials revealed clear temporal dissociation in the left hemisphere between lateral-temporal electrodes, activated at ~100-300 ms, and hippocampal electrodes, activated at ~400-600 ms. This dissociation may suggest a division of labor in the temporal lobe during self-projection in time, hinting towards the different roles of the lateral-temporal cortex and the hippocampus in MTT and the temporal organization of the related events with respect to the experiencing self.

Keywords: episodic memory, mental time travel, Hippocampus, lateral temporal, SEEG

Received: 09 Jan 2018; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Daya S. Gupta, Camden County College, United States

Reviewed by:

ISABEL MARIA MARTIN MONZON, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain
James M. Broadway, University of California, Santa Barbara, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 schurr, nitzan, Eliahou, SPINELLI, Seeck, Blanke and Arzy. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Shahar Arzy, Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel, shahar.arzy@ekmd.huji.ac.il