Spatial attention and representation of time intervals in childhood

Barbara Magnani, Alessandro Musetti, Francesca Frassinetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spatial attention and spatial representation of time are strictly linked in the human brain. In young adults, a leftward shift of spatial attention by prismatic adaptation (PA), is associated with an underestimation whereas a rightward shift is associated with an overestimation of time both for visual and auditory stimuli. These results suggest a supra-modal representation of time left-to-right oriented that is modulated by a bilateral attentional shift. However, there is evidence of unilateral, instead of bilateral, effects of PA on time in elderly adults suggesting an influence of age on these effects. Here we studied the effects of spatial attention on time representation focusing on childhood. Fifty-four children aged from 5 to 11 years-old performed a temporal bisection task with visual and auditory stimuli before and after PA inducing a leftward or a rightward attentional shift. Results showed that children underestimated time after a leftward attentional shift either for visual or auditory stimuli, whereas a rightward attentional shift had null effect on time. Our results are discussed as a partial maturation of the link between spatial attention and time representation in childhood, due to immaturity of interhemispheric interactions or of executive functions necessary for the attentional complete influence on time representation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14960
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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