We often think of the abstract idea of time in the concrete terms of space, saying we are “looking forward to the weekend” or “putting the past behind us.” These adages may be more than just metaphors. A study published in January in Psychological Science suggests that thinking of space may be a necessity to conceptualize time. When people’s minds are not able to accurately understand space, researchers found, they have difficulty with time as well.
When patients with this type of brain damage draw a face, says psychologist Lera Boroditsky of the University of California, San Diego, who led the study, they might depict only the right eye and ear, or they might cluster all the face’s features on the right side. With memory, she notes, “we see a mix of those: to some extent, people weren’t good at remembering things that were associated with the past, and the other error people made was misremembering things that were associated with the past as though they were associated with the future.”
Read the whole story: Scientific American