Remembering the time - a continuous clock

PA Lewis, Rowland Miall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

193 Citations (Scopus)


The neural mechanisms for time measurement are currently a subject of much debate. This article argues that our brains can measure time using the same dorsolateral prefrontal cells that are known to be involved in working memory. Evidence for this is: (1) the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is integral to both cognitive timing and working memory; (2) both behavioural processes are modulated by dopamine and disrupted by manipulation of doparninergic projections to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; (3) the neurons in question ramp their activity in a temporally predictable way during both types of processing; and (4) this ramping activity is modulated by dopamine. The dual involvement of these prefrontal neurons in working memory and cognitive timing supports a view of the prefrontal cortex as a multipurpose processor recruited by a wide variety of tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2006


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