Locating past and future: The Influence of Spatial Ability on Time Representation
The representation of time depends heavily on spatial skills. Saj et al. (2014) demonstrated that left-hemispatial neglect patients, who lost the ability to detect objects in their left visual field, have a selective deficit in remembering items corresponding to the past, i.e., the left side of their mental timeline. The current study used the same memory task but tested neurotypical individuals (N = 76) to examine whether individual differences in spatial ability as well as learning order (chronological vs. random) predict how well participants remember items and associations between the item and time (past or future). Our results indicate that higher spatial ability and chronological learning both lead to better memory. This study is among the first to demonstrate how individual differences may impact time representation and memory that relies on a mental timeline.