To navigate through the environment, humans must be able to measure both the distance traveled in space, and the interval elapsed in time. Yet, how the brain holds both of these metrics simultaneously is less well known. One possibility is that participants measure how far and how long they have traveled relative to a known reference point. To measure this, we had human participants (n = 24) perform a distance estimation task in a virtual environment in which they were cued to attend to either the spatial or temporal interval traveled while responses were measured with multiband fMRI. We observed that both dimensions evoked similar frontoparietal networks, yet with a striking rostrocaudal dissociation between temporal and spatial estimation. Multivariate classifiers trained on each dimension were further able to predict the temporal or spatial interval traveled, with centers of activation within the SMA and retrosplenial cortex for time and space, respectively. Furthermore, a cross-classification approach revealed the right supramarginal gyrus and occipital place area as regions capable of decoding the general magnitude of the traveled distance. Altogether, our findings suggest the brain uses separate systems for tracking spatial and temporal distances, which are combined together along with dimension-nonspecific estimates.

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