Neural substrates underlying balanced time perspective: A combined voxel-based morphometry and resting-state functional connectivity study

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Abstract

Balanced time perspective (BTP), which is defined as a mental ability to switch flexibly among different time perspectives Zimbardo and Boyd (1999), has been suggested to be a central component of positive psychology Boniwell and Zimbardo (2004). BTP reflects individual's cognitive flexibility towards different time frames, which leads to many positive outcomes, including positive mood, subjective wellbeing, emotional intelligence, fluid intelligence, and executive control. However, the neural basis of BTP is still unclear. To address this question, we quantified individual's deviation from the BTP (DBTP), and investigated the neural substrates of DBTP using both voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) methods VBM analysis found that DBTP scores were positively correlated with gray matter volume (GMV) in the ventral precuneus. We further found that DBTP scores were negatively associated with RSFCs between the ventral precuneus seed region and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), bilateral temporoparietal junction (TPJ), parahippocampa gyrus (PHG), and middle frontal gyrus (MFG). These brain regions found in both VBM and RSFC analyses are commonly considered as core nodes of the default mode network (DMN) that is known to be involved in many functions, including episodic and autobiographical memory, self-related processing, theory of mind, and imagining the future. These functions of the DMN are also essential to individuals with BTP. Taken together, we provide the first evidence for the structural and functional neural basis of BTP, and highlight the crucial role of the DMN in cultivating an individual's BTP.

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