Toward a neurobiology of temporal cognition: advances and challenges

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 1997 Apr;7(2):170-84. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(97)80005-0.


A rich tradition of normative psychophysics has identified two ubiquitous properties of interval timing: the scalar property, a strong form of Weber's law, and ratio comparison mechanisms. Finding the neural substrate of these properties is a major challenge for neurobiology. Recently, advances have been made in our understanding of the brain structures important for timing, especially the basal ganglia and the cerebellum. Surgical intervention or diseases of the cerebellum generally result in increased variability in temporal processing, whereas both clock and memory effects are seen for neurotransmitter interventions, lesions and diseases of the basal ganglia. We propose that cerebellar dysfunction may induce deregulation of tonic thalamic tuning, which disrupts gating of the mnemonic temporal information generated in the basal ganglia through striato-thalamo-cortical loops.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology*
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Neurobiology