How the brain keeps time

Keeping track of time is critical for many tasks, such as playing the piano, swinging a tennis racket, or holding a conversation. Neuroscientists at MIT and Columbia University have now figured out how neurons in one part of the brain measure time intervals and accurately reproduce them. The researchers found the lateral intraparietal cortex (LIP), which plays a role in sensorimotor function, represents elapsed time, as animals measure and then reproduce a time interval. They also demonstrated how the firing patterns of population of neurons in the LIP could coordinate sensory and motor aspects of timing. LIP is likely just one node in a circuit that measures time, says Mehrdad Jazayeri, the lead author of a paper describing the work in the Oct. 8 issue of Current Biology. “I would…


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