Saj, A., Fuhrman, O., Vuilleumier, P., & Boroditsky, L. (2013). Patients With Left Spatial Neglect Also Neglect the "Left Side" of Time. Psychological Science. doi: 10.1177/0956797612475222


Previous research suggests that people construct mental time lines to represent and reason about time. However, is the ability to represent space truly necessary for representing events along a mental time line? Our results are the first to demonstrate that deficits in spatial representation (as a function of left hemispatial neglect) also result in deficits in representing events along the mental time line. Specifically, we show that patients with left hemispatial neglect have difficulty representing events that are associated with the past and, thus, fall to the left on the mental time line. These results demonstrate that representations of space and time share neural underpinnings and that representations of time have specific spatial properties (e.g., a left and a right side). Furthermore, it appears that intact spatial representations are necessary for at least some types of temporal representation.