Moving Through Time... I think therefore I can

I believe we are at a level of technology and mind mapping to utilize digital interfaces that can enhance this potential... but we are a little busy playing games on our iPhone ;-)

Source: Psychological ScienceHTML clipboard

Setting humans apart from other species is the ability to travel subjectively through time (Suddendorf & Corballis, 2007), a process termed chronesthesia (Tulving, 2002). Mental time travel enables people to tailor their behavior to satisfy the challenges of daily life (Schacter, Addis, & Buckner, 2007; Tulving, 2002). To date, work on chronesthesia has elucidated the neural basis of retrospection and prospection (Addis, Wong, & Schacter, 2007; Schacter et al., 2007) and documented how the process of mental time travel is affected by both aging (Addis, Wong, & Schacter, 2008) and mental illness (D'Argembeau, Raffard, & Van der Linden, 2008).

These insights aside, however, remarkably little is known about the wider psychological characteristics of this pivotal social-cognitive activity. One intriguing question is, how is temporal information processed when one revisits the past or anticipates the future (see Schacter et al., 2007)?

One possibility is that mental time travel may be represented in the sensorimotor systems that regulate human movement. Specifically, the metaphorical "arrow of time" (Casasanto & Boroditsky, 2008) may be grounded in a processing architecture that integrates temporal and spatial information in a directional manner (i.e., past = back, future = forward).

Given that abstract mental constructs can be revealed motorically, or embodied (see Barsalou, 2008), this viewpoint gives rise to an interesting hypothesis: If chronesthesia entails a coupling of thought and action, episodes of retrospection and prospection may be accompanied by backward and forward motion, respectively. To explore this possibility, we measured spontaneous fluctuations in the magnitude and direction of postural sway while individuals engaged in mental time travel.