Table of Contents
Asian Journal of Neuroscience
Volume 2015, Article ID 189060, 9 pages
Research Article

Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Activation during a Time Production Task: A Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study

1Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, International Christian University, Tokyo 181-8585, Japan
2Department of Psychology, International Christian University, Tokyo 181-8585, Japan

Received 17 January 2015; Revised 12 April 2015; Accepted 30 April 2015

Academic Editor: Jinsung Wang

Copyright © 2015 Asato Morita et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Accurate time estimation is crucial for many human activities and necessitates the use of working memory, in which the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a critical role. We tested the hypothesis that the DLPFC is activated in participants attempting time estimations that require working memory. Specifically, we used functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to investigate prefrontal cortical activity in the brains of individuals performing a prospective time production task. We measured cerebral hemodynamic responses in 26 healthy right-handed university students while they marked the passage of specified time intervals (3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 s) or performed a button-pressing (control) task. The behavioral results indicated that participants’ time estimations were accurate with minimal variability. The fNIRS data showed that activity was significantly higher in the right DLPFC during the time estimation task compared to the control task. Theoretical considerations and the results of this study suggest that DLPFC activation resulting from time estimation indicates that the working memory system is in use.