There is accumulating evidence that the entorhinal-hippocampal network is important for temporal memory. However, relatively little is known about the precise neurobiological mechanisms underlying memory for time. In particular, whether the lateral entorhinal cortex is involved in temporal processing remains an open question.
During high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning, participants watched a ~28 minutes episode of a television show. During the test, they viewed still-frames and indicated on a continuous timeline the precise time each still-frame was viewed during the study. This procedure allowed us to measure error in seconds for each trial. We analyzed functional magnetic resonance imaging data from retrieval and found that high temporal precision was associated with increased blood-oxygen-level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging activity in the anterolateral entorhinal - a homolog of the lateral entorhinal cortex in rodents - and perirhinal cortices, but not in the posteromedial entorhinal and parahippocampal cortices. This suggests a previously unknown role for the lateral entorhinal cortex in processing of high-precision, minute-scale temporal memories.