1. Neuroscience
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Neural pattern change during encoding of a narrative predicts retrospective duration estimates

  1. Olga Lositsky  Is a corresponding author
  2. Janice Chen
  3. Daniel Toker
  4. Christopher J Honey
  5. Michael Shvartsman
  6. Jordan L Poppenk
  7. Uri Hasson
  8. Kenneth A Norman  Is a corresponding author
  1. Princeton University, United States
  2. University of California, Berkeley, United States
  3. University of Toronto, Canada
  4. Queen's University, Canada
Research Article
  • Cited 22
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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e16070 doi: 10.7554/eLife.16070

Abstract

What mechanisms support our ability to estimate durations on the order of minutes? Behavioral studies in humans have shown that changes in contextual features lead to overestimation of past durations. Based on evidence that the medial temporal lobes and prefrontal cortex represent contextual features, we related the degree of fMRI pattern change in these regions with people's subsequent duration estimates. After listening to a radio story in the scanner, participants were asked how much time had elapsed between pairs of clips from the story. Our ROI analyses found that duration estimates were correlated with the neural pattern distance between two clips at encoding in the right entorhinal cortex. Moreover, whole-brain searchlight analyses revealed a cluster spanning the right anterior temporal lobe. Our findings provide convergent support for the hypothesis that retrospective time judgments are driven by 'drift' in contextual representations supported by these regions.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Olga Lositsky

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    For correspondence
    lositsky@princeton.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7089-4474
  2. Janice Chen

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Daniel Toker

    Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Christopher J Honey

    Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Michael Shvartsman

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Jordan L Poppenk

    Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3315-5098
  7. Uri Hasson

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Kenneth A Norman

    Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    For correspondence
    knorman@princeton.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

National Institutes of Health (Early Stage Investigator, R01-MH094480)

  • Uri Hasson

John Templeton Foundation (Proposal 36751)

  • Olga Lositsky
  • Kenneth A Norman

National Institutes of Health (Training Grant, 2T32MH065214)

  • Olga Lositsky
  • Janice Chen

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Ethics

Human subjects: All parts of the experimental procedure were approved by the Princeton Institutional Review Board under Protocol #5516. All participants were screened to ensure no neurological or psychiatric disorders. Written informed consent, and consent to publish, was obtained for all participants in accordance with the Princeton Institutional Review Board regulations.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Howard Eichenbaum, Boston University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: March 16, 2016
  2. Accepted: October 17, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 1, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 13, 2017 (version 2)
  5. Version of Record updated: January 20, 2017 (version 3)

Copyright

© 2016, Lositsky et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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    Individuals with congenital amusia have a lifelong history of unreliable pitch processing. Accordingly, they downweight pitch cues during speech perception and instead rely on other dimensions such as duration. We investigated the neural basis for this strategy. During fMRI, individuals with amusia (N=15) and controls (N=15) read sentences where a comma indicated a grammatical phrase boundary. They then heard two sentences spoken that differed only in pitch and/or duration cues, and selected the best match for the written sentence. Prominent reductions in functional connectivity were detected in the amusia group, between left prefrontal language-related regions and right hemisphere pitch-related regions, which reflected the between-group differences in cue weights in the same groups of listeners. Connectivity differences between these regions were not present during a control task. Our results indicate that the reliability of perceptual dimensions is linked with functional connectivity between frontal and perceptual regions, and suggest a compensatory mechanism.