The brain is a "time machine," assert Duke neuroscientists Catalin Buhusi and Warren Meck. And understanding how the brain tracks time is essential to understanding all its functions. The brains internal clocks coordinate a vast array of activities from communicating, to orchestrating movement, to getting food, they said.
In a review article in the October 2005 Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Buhusi and Meck discuss the current state of understanding of one of the brains most important, and mysterious, clocks -- the one governing timing intervals in the seconds to minutes range. Such interval timing occupies the middle neurological ground between two other clocks -- the circadian clock that operates over the 24-hour light-dark cycle, and the millisecond clock that is crucial for such functions as motor control and speech generation and recognition. Meck is a professor and Buhusi is an assistant research professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.
Interval timing is central to broader coordination of tasks such as walking, manipulating objects, carrying on a conversation and tracking objects in the environment, they said.
Dennis Meredith | EurekAlert!
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