The remapping of time by active tool-use

Filomena Anelli, Michela Candini, Marinella Cappelletti, Massimiliano Oliveri, Francesca Frassinetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Multiple, action-based space representations are each based on the extent to which action is possible toward a specific sector of space, such as near/reachable and far/unreachable. Studies on tool-use revealed how the boundaries between these representations are dynamic. Space is not only multidimensional and dynamic, but it is also known for interacting with other dimensions of magnitude, such as time. However, whether time operates on similar action-driven multiple representations and whether it can be modulated by tool-use is yet unknown. To address these issues, healthy participants performed a time bisection task in two spatial positions (near and far space) before and after an active tool-use training, which consisted of performing goal-directed actions holding a tool with their right hand (Experiment 1). Before training, perceived stimuli duration was influenced by their spatial position defined by action. Hence, a dissociation emerged between near/reachable and far/unreachable space. Strikingly, this dissociation disappeared after the active tool-use training since temporal stimuli were now perceived as nearer. The remapping was not found when a passive tool-training was executed (Experiment 2) or when the active tool-training was performed with participants' left hand (Experiment 3). Moreover, no time remapping was observed following an equivalent active hand-training but without a tool (Experiment 4). Taken together, our findings reveal that time processing is based on action-driven multiple representations. The dynamic nature of these representations is demonstrated by the remapping of time, which is action- and effectordependent.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0146175
JournalPLoS One
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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