The duality of temporal encoding – the intrinsic and extrinsic representation of time

Ronen Golan*, Dan Zakay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While time is well acknowledged for having a fundamental part in our perception, questions on how it is represented are still matters of great debate. One of the main issues in question is whether time is represented intrinsically at the neural level, or is it represented within dedicated brain regions. We used an fMRI block design to test if we can impose covert encoding of temporal features of faces and natural scenes stimuli within category selective neural populations by exposing subjects to four types of temporal variance, ranging from 0% up to 50% variance. We found a gradual increase in neural activation associated with the gradual increase in temporal variance within category selective areas. A second level analysis showed the same pattern of activations within known brain regions associated with time representation, such as the Cerebellum, the Caudate, and the Thalamus. We concluded that temporal features are integral to perception and are simultaneously represented within category selective regions and globally within dedicated regions. Our second conclusion, drown from our covert procedure, is that time encoding, at its basic level, is an automated process that does not require attention allocated toward the temporal features nor does it require dedicated resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1288
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2015


  • Caudate
  • Cerebellum
  • FFA
  • PPA
  • Thalamus
  • temporal encoding
  • time perception
  • time representation


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