John Libbey Eurotext

Gériatrie et Psychologie Neuropsychiatrie du Vieillissement


Toward a clinic of temporality? Volume 15, issue 4, Décembre 2017


  • Figure 1
1 Centre mémoire de ressources et de recherche de Lorraine, Hôpital de Brabois ; Unité cognitivo-comportementale, Centre Paul Spillmann, CHRU de Nancy, France
2 Groupe de recherche sur les communications, Interpsy EA4432 Psychologie, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France
* Tirés à part

The discovery of time cells has expanded our knowledge in the field of spatial and temporal information coding and the key role of the hippocampus. The internal clock model complemented with the attentional gate model allows a more in-depth understanding of the perception of time. The motor representation of duration is ensured by the basal ganglia, while the cerebellum synchronizes short duration for the movement. The right prefrontal cortex seemingly intervenes in the handling of temporal information in working memory. The temporal lobe ensures the comparison of durations, especially the right lobe for the reference durations and the medial lobe for the reproduction of durations in episodic memory. During normal aging, the hypothesis of slowing of the temporal processor is evoked when noting the perception of the acceleration of the passage of time that seemingly occurs with advancing age. The various studies pertaining specifically to time cognition, albeit heterogeneous in terms of methodology, attest to the wide-ranging disturbances of this cognitive field during the course of numerous disorders, whether psychiatric - depression and schizophrenia notably - or neurological. Hence, perturbations in temporality are observed in focal brain lesions and in subcortical disorders, such as Parkinson's disease or Huntington's chorea. Alzheimer's disease represents a particularly fertile field of exploration with regard to time cognition and temporality. The objectified deconstruction of temporal experience provides insights into the very processes of temporality and their nature: episodic, semantic and procedural. In addition to exploration based on elementary stimuli, one should also consider the time lived, i.e. that of the subject, to better understand cognition as it relates to time. While the temporal dimension permeates the whole cognitive field, it remains largely neglected: integration of a genuine time cognition and temporality clinic in daily practice remains to be implemented.