Time, space and duration are intertwined concepts of our daily life, yet they have rarely been assessed together in real-life situations. The WildTimes project will initiate an ambitious line of research bridging temporal and spatial cognition in humans during real-world navigation, and pave the way towards understanding how the human brain maps time during complex travels. WildTimes will contribute to fundamental research by empirically contrasting theories of how the human brain represents time, and to practical applications with the conception and the optimization of novel tools to help individuals navigate transportation networks.
In this project, we will question how, nowadays, transportation technologies have affected our representation of time, and in turn, how our representation of time affects the transport mode or the itinerary we select. In our first objective, we wish to establish whether typical lab observations on temporal perception - and its illusions - sustain the test of real-life observations in ecological settings. We will elaborate and put to the test several experimental paradigms typically characterizing an individual’s perception of time, in the lab and during transportation.
In our second objective, we depart from the observation that with the advances of transport modes, our brain is confronted with discrepant information between the spatial distances that are being travelled, and the time it takes to travel them. For instance, if an average walking pace typically produces a spatial displacement of the self of 5 km (~3.1 miles) an hour, our current means of transportations largely increased the relativistic appreciation of distances with respect to time. In cognitive neuroscience, the notion of cognitive map is central for the spatial and temporal mapping of the environment: cognitive maps are a system of representations in the brain enabling an individual to infer its position in the environment. In our second objective, we will thus ask how time and space interact when not fully congruent with the bodily self.
In a third objective, we will build on our understanding of time perception and its interaction with space during transport to address how participants may choose particular itineraries in public transports, weight the subjective experience of time and space against veridical information and seek to perfect current means of informing users for better travel experiences. Transversal to all three goals, we will collect behavioral and non-invasive neuroimaging data to assess brain responses during timing tasks in the wild i.e. during public transport.
The WildTimes project will help address how the human brain represents time in real-world situations. By characterizing the impact of real-life transports on time perception, we will help understand subjective processes in decision-making for choosing between transport itineraries, in turn helping the elaboration of new tools to help navigation. Our project will thus open new empirical avenues to study time perception while providing novel insights and tools to help travelers in their transport choices.
Madame Virginie van Wassenhove (CEA SACLAY)
The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.
NEUROSPIN CEA SACLAY
IFSTTAR / LPC IFSTTAR
Help of the ANR 610,686 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2019 - 48 Months