The meandering mind

vection and mental time travel

Lynden K Miles, Katarzyna Karpinska, Joanne Lumsden, C Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background
The ability to travel mentally through time sets humans apart from many other species, yet little is known about this core cognitive capacity. In particular, what shapes the passage of the mind's journey through time? Guided by the viewpoint that higher cognitive activity can have a sensory-motor grounding, we explored the possibility that mental time travel is influenced by apparent movement through space.

Methodology/Principal Findings
Participants performed a mundane vigilance task, during which they were expected to daydream, while viewing a display that elicited an illusion of self-motion (i.e., vection). Afterwards, the contents of their mind wandering experiences were probed. The results revealed that the direction of apparent motion influenced the temporal focus of mental time travel. While backward vection prompted thinking about the past, forward vection triggered a preponderance of future-oriented thoughts.

Conclusions/Significance
Consistent with recent evidence that traveling mentally through time entails associated movements in space, the current results demonstrate the converse relationship—apparent movement through space influenced the temporal locus of mental activity. Together, these findings corroborate the viewpoint that mental time travel may be grounded in the embodiment of spatiotemporal information in a bidirectional manner.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10825
Number of pages5
JournalPloS ONE
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2010

Fingerprint

Travel time
travel
Electric grounding
Display devices
Fantasy
loci
Aptitude
methodology

Cite this

The meandering mind : vection and mental time travel. / Miles, Lynden K; Karpinska, Katarzyna; Lumsden, Joanne; Macrae, C Neil.

In: PloS ONE, Vol. 5, No. 5, e10825, 25.05.2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Miles, Lynden K ; Karpinska, Katarzyna ; Lumsden, Joanne ; Macrae, C Neil. / The meandering mind : vection and mental time travel. In: PloS ONE. 2010 ; Vol. 5, No. 5.
@article{6f788bcd7437402aa02961bab6f8871a,
title = "The meandering mind: vection and mental time travel",
abstract = "Background The ability to travel mentally through time sets humans apart from many other species, yet little is known about this core cognitive capacity. In particular, what shapes the passage of the mind's journey through time? Guided by the viewpoint that higher cognitive activity can have a sensory-motor grounding, we explored the possibility that mental time travel is influenced by apparent movement through space. Methodology/Principal Findings Participants performed a mundane vigilance task, during which they were expected to daydream, while viewing a display that elicited an illusion of self-motion (i.e., vection). Afterwards, the contents of their mind wandering experiences were probed. The results revealed that the direction of apparent motion influenced the temporal focus of mental time travel. While backward vection prompted thinking about the past, forward vection triggered a preponderance of future-oriented thoughts. Conclusions/Significance Consistent with recent evidence that traveling mentally through time entails associated movements in space, the current results demonstrate the converse relationship—apparent movement through space influenced the temporal locus of mental activity. Together, these findings corroborate the viewpoint that mental time travel may be grounded in the embodiment of spatiotemporal information in a bidirectional manner.",
author = "Miles, {Lynden K} and Katarzyna Karpinska and Joanne Lumsden and Macrae, {C Neil}",
year = "2010",
month = "5",
day = "25",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pone.0010825",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
journal = "PloS ONE",
issn = "1932-6203",
publisher = "PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The meandering mind

T2 - vection and mental time travel

AU - Miles, Lynden K

AU - Karpinska, Katarzyna

AU - Lumsden, Joanne

AU - Macrae, C Neil

PY - 2010/5/25

Y1 - 2010/5/25

N2 - Background The ability to travel mentally through time sets humans apart from many other species, yet little is known about this core cognitive capacity. In particular, what shapes the passage of the mind's journey through time? Guided by the viewpoint that higher cognitive activity can have a sensory-motor grounding, we explored the possibility that mental time travel is influenced by apparent movement through space. Methodology/Principal Findings Participants performed a mundane vigilance task, during which they were expected to daydream, while viewing a display that elicited an illusion of self-motion (i.e., vection). Afterwards, the contents of their mind wandering experiences were probed. The results revealed that the direction of apparent motion influenced the temporal focus of mental time travel. While backward vection prompted thinking about the past, forward vection triggered a preponderance of future-oriented thoughts. Conclusions/Significance Consistent with recent evidence that traveling mentally through time entails associated movements in space, the current results demonstrate the converse relationship—apparent movement through space influenced the temporal locus of mental activity. Together, these findings corroborate the viewpoint that mental time travel may be grounded in the embodiment of spatiotemporal information in a bidirectional manner.

AB - Background The ability to travel mentally through time sets humans apart from many other species, yet little is known about this core cognitive capacity. In particular, what shapes the passage of the mind's journey through time? Guided by the viewpoint that higher cognitive activity can have a sensory-motor grounding, we explored the possibility that mental time travel is influenced by apparent movement through space. Methodology/Principal Findings Participants performed a mundane vigilance task, during which they were expected to daydream, while viewing a display that elicited an illusion of self-motion (i.e., vection). Afterwards, the contents of their mind wandering experiences were probed. The results revealed that the direction of apparent motion influenced the temporal focus of mental time travel. While backward vection prompted thinking about the past, forward vection triggered a preponderance of future-oriented thoughts. Conclusions/Significance Consistent with recent evidence that traveling mentally through time entails associated movements in space, the current results demonstrate the converse relationship—apparent movement through space influenced the temporal locus of mental activity. Together, these findings corroborate the viewpoint that mental time travel may be grounded in the embodiment of spatiotemporal information in a bidirectional manner.

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pone.0010825

DO - 10.1371/journal.pone.0010825

M3 - Article

VL - 5

JO - PloS ONE

JF - PloS ONE

SN - 1932-6203

IS - 5

M1 - e10825

ER -