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First of all, I have to say I am not a neuroscientist but I like to learn about neuroscience. I understand there are sets of neurons called "place cells" and "grid cells" which encode spatial information in the brain.

My question is simple: Is there a structure in the brain known to encode temporal information analogous to place cells? Is anyone aware of some references or experiments on this subject?

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It seems the topic of time perception is quite complicated. In contrast to the place and grid cells in the hippocampus (Moser et al., 2015), the perception of time seems to be distributed across many places in the brain. A review by Fontes et al., 2016) cites 158 papers written between 1980 to 2015 that describe a variety of brain structures relating to the perception of time, including areas in the frontal cortex, parietal cortex, basal ganglia, cerebellum and hippocampus. It indeed seems to be a highly distributed system in the brain. The proximity of time cells and place and grid cells in the hippocampus is interesting and is an active area of research.

References
- Fontes et al., Neurol Int (2016); 8(1): 59392016
- Moser et al., Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol (2015); 7: a021808

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