The mindhacks blog had a posting on the connection between time and space perception. Here is the abstract of the paper discussed, ‘Prismatic Lenses Shift Time Perception’ by F Frassinetti etal.
“Previous studies have demonstrated the involvement of spatial codes in the representation of time and numbers. We took advantage of a well-known spatial modulation (prismatic adaptation) to test the hypothesis that the representation of time is spatially oriented from left to right, with smaller time intervals being represented to the left of larger time intervals. Healthy subjects performed a time-reproduction task and a time-bisection task, before and after leftward and rightward prismatic adaptation. Results showed that prismatic adaptation inducing a rightward orientation of spatial attention produced an overestimation of time intervals, whereas prismatic adaptation inducing a leftward shift of spatial attention produced an underestimation of time intervals. These findings not only confirm that temporal intervals are represented as horizontally arranged in space, but also reveal that spatial modulation of time processing most likely occurs via cuing of spatial attention, and that spatial attention can influence the spatial coding of quantity in different dimensions.”
I have thought it likely that the processes that are used for one type of perception are also used for any others that can be made to ‘fit’. Particularly, the hippocampus is part of a neural system adept at space and place perception/memory and it also seems to be doing the same for time. Why not for any and everything that we can map with location and direction: numbers, music, procedures etc? So high notes are high, low numbers are low (and to the left if that is the way we read), procedures move along a path, we move into the future and leave the past behind. Some postulate that we think this way because of our language, but it seems more likely that we talk this way because of how we perceive.