Synaesthesia, is used to describe a condition where people experience time as a spatial construct, discerning events through time and space.
Synaesthesia is the condition in which the senses are mixed, so that a sound or a number has a colour, for example. In one version, the sense of touch evokes emotions.
Advertisement"In general, these individuals perceive months of the year in circular shapes, usually just as an image inside their mind's eye," New Scientist quoted David Brang of the department of psychology at the University of California, San Diego, as saying.
"These calendars occur in almost any possible shape, and many of the synaesthetes actually experience the calendar projected out into the real world," he added.
One of Brang's subjects was able to see the year as a circular ring surrounding her body.
The "ring" rotated clockwise throughout the year so that the current month was always inside her chest with the previous month right in front of her chest.
The researchers recruited 183 students and asked them to visualise the months of the year and construct this representation on a computer screen.
After four months, the students were shown a blank screen and asked to select a position for each of the months.
They were prompted with a cue month - a randomly selected month placed as a dot in the location where the student had originally placed it.
It was found that four of the 183 students were time-space synaesthetes when they placed their months in a distinct spatial array - such as a circle - that was consistent over the trials.
A second test compared how well time-space synaesthetes and ordinary humans could memorise an unfamiliar spatial calendar and reproduce it.
Time-space synaesthetes turned out to have much better recall than the time-blind majority.
Brang suspected that time-space synaesthesia happens when the neural processes underlying spatial processing are unusually active.
"This enhanced processing would generalise to other functions of spatial processing - mental rotation, map navigation, spatial manipulation," he said.
He didn't speculate on whether time-space synaesthetes could regenerate, or if they have two hearts: both key characteristics of Time Lords.
The study has been published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition.
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