The ability to perceive the passage of time in the seconds-to-minutes range is a vital and ubiquitous characteristic of life. This ability allows organisms to make behavioral changes based on the temporal contingencies between stimuli and the potential rewards they predict. While the psychophysical manifestations of time perception have been well-characterized, many aspects of its underlying biology are still poorly understood. A major contributor to this is limitations of current in vivo techniques that do not allow for proper assessment of the di signaling over micro-, meso- and macroscopic spatial scales. Alternatively, the integration of biologically inspired artificial neural networks (ANNs) based on the dynamics and cyto-architecture of brain regions associated with time perception can help mitigate these limitations and, in conjunction, provide a powerful tool for progressing research in the field. To this end, this chapter aims to: (1) provide insight into the biological complexity of interval timing, (2) outline limitations in our ability to accurately assess these neural mechanisms in vivo, and (3) demonstrate potential application of ANNs for better understanding the biological underpinnings of temporal processing.
Part of the book: New Frontiers in Brain