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The Functional Brain Network of Subcortical and Cortical Regions Underlying Time Estimation: An Functional MRI Study.

Neuroscience 2023 March 5
Time estimation is fundamental for human survival. There have been increasing studies suggesting that distributed brain regions, such as the basal ganglia, cerebellum and the parietal cortex, may contribute to a dedicated neural mechanism of time estimation. However, evidence on the specific function of the subcortical and cortical brain regions and the interplay of them is scare. In this work, we explored how the subcortical and cortical networks function in time estimation during a time reproduction task using functional MRI (fMRI). Thirty healthy participants performed the time reproduction task in both auditory and visual modalities. Results showed that time estimation in visual and auditory modality recruited a subcortical-cortical brain network including the left caudate, left cerebellum, and right precuneus. Besides, the superior temporal gyrus (STG) was found essential in the difference between time estimation in visual and auditory modality. Using psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis, we observed an increase in the connection between left caudate and left precuneus using the left caudate as the seed region in temporal reproduction task than control task. This suggested that the left caudate is the key region connecting and transmitting information to other brain regions in the dedicated brain network of time estimation.

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