Neuroanatomical correlates of time perspective: A voxel-based morphometry study

Behav Brain Res. 2018 Feb 26;339:255-260. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.11.004. Epub 2017 Nov 4.


Previous studies indicated that time perspective can affect many behaviors, such as decisions, risk taking, substance abuse and health behaviors. However, very little is known about the neural substrates of time perspective (TP). To address this question, we characterized different dimensions of TP (including the Past, Present, and Future TP) using standardized Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory (ZTPI), and quantified the gray matter volume using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) method across two independent samples. Our whole-brain analysis (sample 1, N=150) revealed Past-Negative TP was positively correlated with the GMV of a cluster in LPFC whereas Past-Positive was negatively correlated with the GMV in OFC, and Future TP was negatively correlated with GMV in mPFC. Moreover, two present scales (Present-Hedonistic and Present-Fatalistic TPs) were positively correlated with the GMV of regions in MTG and precuneus, respectively. We further examined the reliability of these correlations between multidimensional TPs and neuroanatomical structures in another independent sample (sample 2, N=58). Results verified our findings that GMV in LPFC could predict Past-Negative TP while GMV in OFC could predict Past-Positive TP, and the GMV in MTG could predict Present-Hedonistic while the GMV in presuneus could predict Present-Fatalistic, as well as the GMV in mPFC could predict Future TP. Thus, our findings suggest that the existence of selective neural basis underlying TPs, and further provide the stable biomarkers for multidimensional TPs.

Keywords: GMV; Temporal orientation; Time perspective; VBM.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / anatomy & histology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Neuroanatomy / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Time Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult