The two sides of the mental clock: The Imaginal Hemispatial Effect in the healthy brain

Massimiliano Conson, Fausta Cinque, Luigi Trojano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When subjects are asked to compare the mental images of two analog clocks telling different times (the mental clock test), they are faster to process angles formed by hands located in the right than in the left half of the dial. In the present paper, we demonstrate that this Imaginal HemiSpatial Effect (IHSE) can be also observed in two modified versions of the mental clock test: in Experiment 1 subjects had to imagine the position occupied by two numbers within a clock face and to judge if the subtended angle was smaller or greater than 90°, while in Experiment 2 subjects were asked to match two imagined positions on a clock face with two visually presented locations. The finding of the IHSE in these tasks suggested that it is a genuine phenomenon related to spatial imagery tasks, and is consistent with recent neuroimaging evidence that the left parietal lobe is mainly involved in the generation of spatial mental images.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-305
Number of pages8
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • Mental clocks
  • Parietal lobe
  • Spatial imagery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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