Review

Anticipated moments: temporal structure in attention

  • Nature Reviews Neuroscience 19, 3448 (2018)
  • doi:10.1038/nrn.2017.141
  • Download Citation
Published online:

Abstract

We have come to recognize the brain as a predictive organ, anticipating attributes of the incoming sensory stimulation to guide perception and action in the service of adaptive behaviour. In the quest to understand the neural bases of the modulatory prospective signals that prioritize and select relevant events during perception, one fundamental dimension has until recently been largely overlooked: time. In this Review, we introduce the burgeoning field of temporal attention and illustrate how the brain makes use of various forms of temporal regularities in the environment to guide adaptive behaviour and influence neural processing.

  • Subscribe to Nature Reviews Neuroscience for full access:

    $59

    Subscribe

Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.

References

  1. 1.

    & Attentional modulation of visual processing. Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 27, 611–647 (2004).

  2. 2.

    & in The Oxford Handbook of Attention (eds Nobre, A. C. & Kastner, S.) 318–345 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).

  3. 3.

    Rhythms for cognition: communication through coherence. Neuron 88, 220–235 (2015).

  4. 4.

    Orienting of attention. Q. J. Exp. Psychol. 32, 3–25 (1980).

  5. 5.

    & Foreperiod and simple reaction time. Psychol. Bull. 89, 133–162 (1981).

  6. 6.

    in Attention and Time (eds Nobre, A. C. & Coull, J. T.) 289–302 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010).

  7. 7.

    & Where and when to pay attention: the neural systems for directing attention to spatial locations and to time intervals as revealed by both PET and fMRI. J. Neurosci. 18, 7426–7435 (1998). This is a landmark brain-imaging study in humans that reveals the brain network involved in temporal orienting of attention and compares and contrasts it with the spatial orienting network.

  8. 8.

    , , & Orienting attention in time: modulation of brain potentials. Brain 122, 1507–1518 (1999).

  9. 9.

    , & Multiple mechanisms of selective attention: differential modulation of stimulus processing by attention to space or time. Neuropsychologia 40, 2325–2340 (2002).

  10. 10.

    & Attentional enhancement of auditory mismatch responses: a DCM/MEG study. Cereb. Cortex 25, 4273–4283 (2015).

  11. 11.

    , & Orienting attention in time. Front. Biosci. 6, 660–671 (2001).

  12. 12.

    in Attention and Time (eds Nobre, A. C. & Coull, J. T.) 357–370 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010).

  13. 13.

    , , & Orienting attention in time: behavioural and neuroanatomical distinction between exogenous and endogenous shifts. Neuropsychologia 38, 808–819 (2000).

  14. 14.

    Orienting attention to instants in time. Neuropsychologia 39, 1317–1328 (2001).

  15. 15.

    & Orienting attention to points in time improves stimulus processing both within and across modalities. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 18, 715–729 (2006).

  16. 16.

    & Effects of temporal context and temporal expectancy on neural activity in inferior temporal cortex. Neuropsychologia 46, 947–957 (2008).

  17. 17.

    & The auditory cortex mediates the perceptual effects of acoustic temporal expectation. Nat. Neurosci. 14, 246–251 (2011). This study demonstrates the behavioural and neural benefits of cued temporal attention in a rodent model, such as temporally selective increases in A1 firing rate for neurons coding for the incoming stimuli to enhance the representation of sounds when auditory targets are expected.

  18. 18.

    , & Attention flexibly trades off across points in time. Psychon Bull. Rev. 24, 1142–1151 (2017).

  19. 19.

    & Contextual cueing: implicit learning and memory of visual context guides spatial attention. Cogn. Psychol. 36, 28–71 (1998).

  20. 20.

    , , , & Orienting attention based on long-term memory experience. Neuron 49, 905–916 (2006).

  21. 21.

    & Temporal contextual cuing of visual attention. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cogn. 27, 1299–1313 (2001).

  22. 22.

    , , & Temporal anticipation based on memory. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 29, 2081–2089 (2017). This recent study in humans demonstrates that long-term memories carry temporal associations that guide perception through temporally selective anticipation of target stimuli.

  23. 23.

    , , & Timing a week later: the role of long-term memory in temporal preparation. Psychonom. Bull. Rev. (2017).

  24. 24.

    Response Times: Their Role in Inferring Elementary Mental Organization. (Oxford Univ. Press; Clarendon Press, 1986).

  25. 25.

    , & Neuronal coherence as a mechanism of effective corticospinal interaction. Science 308, 111–113 (2005).

  26. 26.

    , , & Endogenous modulation of low frequency oscillations by temporal expectations. J. Neurophysiol. 106, 2964–2972 (2011).

  27. 27.

    , & Temporal expectancy in the context of a theory of visual attention. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 368, 20130054 (2013).

  28. 28.

    & Attentional modulation in visual cortex depends on task timing. Nature 419, 616–620 (2002). This study presents a seminal demonstration in NHPs that attentional modulation of neuronal firing rates in a visual area (V4) follows the temporal hazard rate for the occurrence of target stimuli.

  29. 29.

    & A representation of the hazard rate of elapsed time in macaque area LIP. Nat. Neurosci. 8, 234–242 (2005).

  30. 30.

    , , , & How do primates anticipate uncertain future events? J. Neurosci. 27, 4334–4341 (2007).

  31. 31.

    & Expectancy, attention, and time. Cogn. Psychol. 41, 254–311 (2000).

  32. 32.

    , & Effects of auditory pattern structure on anticipatory and reactive attending. Cogn. Psychol. 53, 59–96 (2006).

  33. 33.

    Time, our lost dimension: toward a new theory of perception, attention, and memory. Psychol. Rev. 83, 323–355 (1976). This is an early theoretical and review paper from the auditory-perception literature stressing the important role of temporal structures in attention.

  34. 34.

    & The dynamics of attending. Psychol. Rev. 106, 119–159 (1999).

  35. 35.

    , , & Temporal predictability enhances auditory detection. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 135, EL357–EL363 (2014).

  36. 36.

    , & Rhythms that speed you up. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 37, 236–244 (2011).

  37. 37.

    , , , & Rescuing stimuli from invisibility: inducing a momentary release from visual masking with pre-target entrainment. Cognition 115, 186–191 (2010).

  38. 38.

    , , & Temporal expectation enhances contrast sensitivity by phase entrainment of low-frequency oscillations in visual cortex. J. Neurosci. 33, 4002–4010 (2013).

  39. 39.

    , , & Temporal expectation improves the quality of sensory information. J. Neurosci. 32, 8424–8428 (2012).

  40. 40.

    , & The effect of stimulus strength on the speed and accuracy of a perceptual decision. J. Vision 5, 376–404 (2005).

  41. 41.

    & Automatic bias of temporal expectations following temporally regular input independently of high-level temporal expectation. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 26, 1555–1571 (2014). This is a study in humans that offers a clear demonstration that different types of temporal structures can have dissociable impacts on perception.

  42. 42.

    & Attention requirements of learning: evidence from performance measures. Cogn. Psychol. 19, 1–32 (1987).

  43. 43.

    & Assessing implicit learning with indirect tests. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cogn. 20, 585–594 (1994).

  44. 44.

    & Concurrent learning of temporal and spatial sequences. Learn. Mem. 28, 445–457 (2002).

  45. 45.

    , , & Acquisition of the temporal and ordinal structure of movement sequences in incidental learning. J. Neurophysiol. 99, 2731–2735 (2008).

  46. 46.

    , & Temporal alignment of anticipatory motor cortical beta lateralisation in hidden visual-motor sequences. Eur. J. Neurosci. (2017). This study in humans shows that complex, non-isochronous, temporal sequences are utilized by the brain to align motor preparation to anticipated moments in time.

  47. 47.

    , & Early behavioural facilitation by temporal expectations in complex visual-motor sequences. J. Physiol. Paris (2017).

  48. 48.

    , & Behavioural dissociation between exogenous and endogenous temporal orienting of attention. PLoS ONE 6, e14620 (2011).

  49. 49.

    , & Temporal orienting of attention is interfered by concurrent working memory updating. Neuropsychologia 51, 326–339 (2013).

  50. 50.

    , & Dissociating controlled from automatic processing in temporal preparation. Cognition 123, 293–302 (2012).

  51. 51.

    , , & Temporal preparation driven by rhythms is resistant to working memory interference. Front. Psychol. 3, 308–317 (2012).

  52. 52.

    , , , & Neural dissociation of automatic and controlled temporal preparation by transcranial magnetic stimulation. Neuropsychologia 65, 131–136 (2014).

  53. 53.

    , , & Temporal orienting deficit after prefrontal damage. Brain 133, 1173–1185 (2010).

  54. 54.

    , , , & Rhythms can overcome temporal orienting deficit after right frontal damage. Neuropsychologia 49, 3917–3930 (2011).

  55. 55.

    & Neural modulation by regularity and passage of time. J. Neurophysiol. 100, 1649–1655 (2008).

  56. 56.

    et al. The timescale of perceptual evidence integration can be adapted to the environment. Curr. Biol. 23, 981–986 (2013).

  57. 57.

    , & Global gain modulation generates time-dependent urgency during perceptual choice in humans. Nat. Commun. 7, 13526 (2016).

  58. 58.

    , , & Temporal scaling of neural responses to compressed and dilated natural speech. J. Neurophysiol. 111, 2433–2444 (2014).

  59. 59.

    , , , & Cortical tracking of hierarchical linguistic structures in connected speech. Nat. Neurosci. 19, 158–164 (2016).

  60. 60.

    & Perceiving the passage of time: neural possibilities. Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 1326, 60–71 (2014).

  61. 61.

    , & Neural basis of the perception and estimation of time. Annu. Rev. Neurosci. 36, 313–336 (2013).

  62. 62.

    & Timing as an intrinsic property of neural networks: evidence from in vivo and in vitro experiments. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 369, 20120460 (2014).

  63. 63.

    , & Spectral-temporal receptive fields of nonlinear auditory neurons obtained using natural sounds. J. Neurosci. 20, 2315–2331 (2000).

  64. 64.

    Time cells in the hippocampus: a new dimension for mapping memories. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 15, 732–744 (2014).

  65. 65.

    , & The image of time: a voxel-wise meta-analysis. Neuroimage 49, 1728–1740 (2010).

  66. 66.

    & in The Oxford Handbook of Attention (eds Nobre, A. C. & Kastner, S.) 676–724 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).

  67. 67.

    , & Metrical rhythm implicitly orients attention in time as indexed by improved target detection and left inferior parietal activation. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 26, 593–605 (2014).

  68. 68.

    , & Differential roles for parietal and frontal cortices in fixed versus evolving temporal expectations: dissociating prior from posterior temporal probabilities with fMRI. Neuroimage 141, 40–51 (2016).

  69. 69.

    Prediction of external events with our motor system: towards a new framework. Trends Cogn. Sci. 11, 211–218 (2007).

  70. 70.

    , & Motor contributions to the temporal precision of auditory attention. Nat. Commun. 5, 5255 (2014).

  71. 71.

    , , & Hippocampus and trace conditioning of the rabbit's classically conditioned nictitating membrane response. Behav. Neurosci. 100, 729–744 (1986).

  72. 72.

    & Classical conditioning and brain systems: the role of awareness. Science 280, 77–81 (1998).

  73. 73.

    & The functional anatomy of time: what and when in the brain. Trends Cogn. Sci. 7, 500–511 (2016).

  74. 74.

    , , , & Hippocampal place cells construct reward related sequences through unexplored space. eLife 4, e06063 (2015).

  75. 75.

    & Hippocampal place-cell sequences depict future paths to remembered goals. Nature 497, 74–79 (2013).

  76. 76.

    & in The Oxford Handbook of Attention (eds Nobre, A. C. & Kastner, S.) 105–151 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).

  77. 77.

    , , & Expectancy induces dynamic modulation of corticospinal excitability. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 19, 121–131 (2007).

  78. 78.

    , , , & Contingent negative variation: an electric sign of sensori-motor association and expectancy in the human brain. Nature 203, 380–384 (1964).

  79. 79.

    & Intentional and unintentional contributions to nonspecific preparation. J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 134, 52–72 (2005).

  80. 80.

    et al. Age-related changes in orienting attention in time. J. Neurosci. 31, 12461–12470 (2011).

  81. 81.

    & When synchronizing to rhythms is not a good thing: modulations of preparatory and post-target neural activity when shifting attention away from on-beat times of a distracting rhythm. J. Neurosci. 36, 7154–7166 (2016).

  82. 82.

    , , & Automatic temporal expectancy: a high-density event-related potential study. PLoS ONE 8, e62896 (2013).

  83. 83.

    , , & Neurophysiology of implicit timing in serial choice reaction-time performance. J. Neurosci. 26, 5448–5455 (2006).

  84. 84.

    , & Gamma responses correlate with temporal expectation in monkey primary visual cortex. J. Neurosci. 31, 15919–15931 (2011).

  85. 85.

    et al. Spatial attention and temporal expectation under timed uncertainty predictably modulate neuronal responses in monkey V1. Cereb. Cortex 25, 2894–2906 (2014).

  86. 86.

    , , & Spike synchronization and rate modulation differentially involved in motor cortical function. Science 278, 1950–1953 (1997).

  87. 87.

    & Shaping functional architecture by oscillatory alpha activity: gating by inhibition. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 4, 186–194 (2010).

  88. 88.

    & New insights into the relationship between dopamine, beta oscillations and motor function. Trends Neurosci. 34, 611–618 (2011).

  89. 89.

    , , & Orienting attention to an upcoming tactile event involves a spatially and temporally specific modulation of sensorimotor alpha-and beta-band oscillations. J. Neurosci. 31, 2016–2024 (2011). This is a study in humans that shows that modulation of alpha and beta oscillations by spatial attention is dynamically upregulated and downregulated by concurrent temporal expectations.

  90. 90.

    & Alpha oscillations related to anticipatory attention follow temporal expectations. J. Neurosci. 31, 14076–14084 (2011).

  91. 91.

    et al. Making waves in the stream of consciousness: entraining oscillations in EEG alpha and fluctuations in visual awareness with rhythmic visual stimulation. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 24, 2321–2333 (2012).

  92. 92.

    , , & Top-down control of the phase of alpha-band oscillations as a mechanism for temporal prediction. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, 8439–8444 (2015).

  93. 93.

    & Alpha oscillations serve to protect working memory maintenance against anticipated distracters. Curr. Biol. 22, 1969–1974 (2012).

  94. 94.

    , , & Attention and temporal expectations modulate power, not phase, of ongoing alpha oscillations. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 27, 1573–1586 (2015).

  95. 95.

    & Endogenous electric fields may guide neocortical network activity. Neuron 67, 129–143 (2010).

  96. 96.

    & Low-frequency neuronal oscillations as instruments of sensory selection. Trends Neurosci. 1, 9–18 (2009).

  97. 97.

    & Subthreshold oscillations of the membrane potential: a functional synchronizing and timing device. J. Neurophysiol. 70, 2181–2186 (1993).

  98. 98.

    , , , & Entrainment of neuronal oscillations as a mechanism of attentional selection. Science 320, 110–113 (2008). This is a study in NHPs that introduces phase alignment of low-frequency oscillations with predictable rhythmic stimulation (entrainment) as a putative mechanism for selective temporal attention in the context of rhythmic stimuli.

  99. 99.

    et al. Phase entrainment of human delta oscillations can mediate the effects of expectation on reaction speed. J. Neurosci. 30, 13578–13585 (2010).

  100. 100.

    , & Entrained neural oscillations in multiple frequency bands comodulate behavior. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 111, 14935–14940 (2014).

  101. 101.

    & Neural mechanisms of rhythm-based temporal prediction: delta phase-locking reflects temporal predictability but not rhythmic entrainment. PLoS Biol. 15, e2001665 (2017).

  102. 102.

    et al. The spectrotemporal filter mechanism of auditory selective attention. Neuron 77, 750–761 (2013).

  103. 103.

    et al. Low-frequency cortical oscillations entrain to subthreshold rhythmic auditory stimuli. J. Neurosci. 37, 4903–4912 (2017).

  104. 104.

    Timing in the visual cortex and its investigation. Curr. Opin. Behav. Sci. 8, 73–77 (2016).

  105. 105.

    , , & Synergistic effect of combined temporal and spatial expectations on visual attention. J. Neurosci. 25, 8259–8266 (2005). This is a study in humans that reveals a synergistic interaction between temporal and spatial expectations in enhancing early visual evoked potentials.

  106. 106.

    & Event-related potentials (ERPs) to interruptions of a steady rhythm. Psychophysiology 18, 322–330 (1981).

  107. 107.

    , , & The mismatch negativity as an index of temporal processing in audition. Clin. Neurophysiol. 112, 1712–1719 (2001).

  108. 108.

    , & Event-related potentials to time-deviant and pitch-deviant tones. Psychophysiology 25, 249–261 (1988).

  109. 109.

    , & Near-real-time feature-selective modulations in human cortex. Curr. Biol. 23, 515–522 (2013).

  110. 110.

    , , & Decoding the influence of anticipatory states on visual perception in the presence of temporal distractors. bioRxiv (2017).

  111. 111.

    & Feature-based attention in visual cortex. Trends Neurosci. 29, 317–322 (2006).

  112. 112.

    , & Effects of feature-selective and spatial attention at different stages of visual processing. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 23, 238–246 (2011).

  113. 113.

    , & Stimulus competition mediates the joint effects of spatial and feature-based attention. J. Vis. 15, 7 (2015).

  114. 114.

    & Feature-based attention influences motion processing gain in macaque visual cortex. Nature 399, 575–579 (1999).

  115. 115.

    & Using neuronal populations to study the mechanisms underlying spatial and feature attention. Neuron 70, 1192–1204 (2011).

  116. 116.

    , , & Combining spatial and temporal expectations to improve visual perception. J. Vis. 14, 8 (2014).

  117. 117.

    , , & Temporal prediction in lieu of periodic stimulation. J. Neurosci. 36, 2342–2347 (2016). This study in humans suggests distinct mechanisms for behavioural facilitation by different types of predictable temporal structures and demonstrates synergistic interactions between temporal and feature-based expectations.

  118. 118.

    , , , & Hearing silences: human auditory processing relies on preactivation of sound-specific brain activity patterns. J. Neurosci. 33, 8633–8639 (2013).

  119. 119.

    , & Featural and temporal attention selectively enhance task-appropriate representations in human primary visual cortex. Nat. Commun. 5, 5643 (2014).

  120. 120.

    & Listeners modulate temporally selective attention during natural speech processing. Biol. Psychol. 80, 23–34 (2009).

  121. 121.

    , & Non-motor basal ganglia functions: a review and proposal for a model of sensory predictability in auditory language perception. Cortex 45, 982–990 (2009).

  122. 122.

    , , & Tagging the neuronal entrainment to beat and meter. J. Neurosci. 31, 10234–10240 (2011).

  123. 123.

    Music and language perception: expectations, structural integration, and cognitive sequencing. Top. Cogn. Sci. 4, 568–584 (2012).

  124. 124.

    & Temporal prediction errors in visual and auditory cortices. Curr. Biol. 24, R309–R310 (2014).

  125. 125.

    , & Cortico-striatal circuits and the timing of action and perception. Curr. Opin. Behav. Sci. 8, 42–45 (2016).

  126. 126.

    , & Unconscious masked priming depends on temporal attention. Psychol. Sci. 13, 416–424 (2002).

  127. 127.

    & Timing attention: cuing target onset interval attenuates the attentional blink. Mem. Cogn. 33, 234–240 (2005).

  128. 128.

    & Implicit temporal expectation attenuates auditory attentional blink. PLoS ONE 7, e36031 (2012).

  129. 129.

    & Dopamine neurons report an error in the temporal prediction of reward during learning. Nat. Neurosci. 1, 304–309 (1998).

  130. 130.

    & Reward timing in the primary visual cortex. Science 311, 1606–1609 (2006). This is a study in rodents that demonstrates that neurons in the primary visual cortex are sensitive to temporal expectations about non-visual food rewards.

  131. 131.

    , , , & Alpha oscillatory dynamics index temporal expectation benefits in working memory. Cereb. Cortex 25, 1938–1946 (2014).

  132. 132.

    , , & Recognition memory is improved by a structured temporal framework during encoding. Front. Psychol. 6, 2062–2062 (2015).

  133. 133.

    et al. Testing sensory evidence against mnemonic templates. eLife 4, e09000 (2015).

  134. 134.

    , & Temporal expectations guide dynamic prioritization in visual working memory through attenuated α oscillations. J. Neurosci. 37, 437–445 (2017). This recent study in humans demonstrates that temporal expectations operate within working memory, guiding temporally selective prioritization of mnemonic items when they are expected to become relevant for behaviour.

  135. 135.

    , & Posterior α EEG dynamics dissociate current from future goals in working memory-guided visual search. J. Neurosci. 37, 1591–1603 (2017).

  136. 136.

    & Expectation (and attention) in visual cognition. Trends Cogn. Sci. 13, 403–409 (2009).

  137. 137.

    & Predictive coding under the free-energy principle. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 364, 1211–1221 (2009).

  138. 138.

    & in Classsical Conditioning II: Current Research and Theory (eds Black, A. H. & Prokasy, W. F.) 64–99 (New York: Appleton-Century Crofts, 1972).

  139. 139.

    & in The Oxford Handbook of Attention (eds Nobre, A. C. & Kastner, S.) 1201–1222 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).

  140. 140.

    & From detection to identification: response to multiple targets in rapid serial visual presentation. Percept. Psychophys. 42, 105–113 (1987).

  141. 141.

    , & Temporary suppression of visual processing in an RSVP task. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 18, 849–860 (1992).

  142. 142.

    Repetition blindness: type recognition without token individuation. Cognition 27, 117–143 (1987).

  143. 143.

    Dual–task interference in simple tasks. Psychol. Bull. 116, 220–244 (1994).

  144. 144.

    , & Active sensation: insights from the rodent vibrissa sensorimotor system. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 4, 435–444 (2006).

  145. 145.

    , , , & Dynamics of active sensing and perceptual selection. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 2, 172–176 (2010).

  146. 146.

    , , & A microsaccadic rhythm modulates gamma-band synchronization and behavior. J. Neurosci. 29, 9471–9480 (2009).

  147. 147.

    Excitability cycles and cortical scanning. Psychol. Bull. 68, 47–58 (1967).

  148. 148.

    Perceptual cycles. Trends Cogn. Sci. 20, 723–735 (2016).

  149. 149.

    , & The phase of ongoing EEG oscillations predicts visual perception. J. Neurosci. 29, 7869–7876 (2009).

  150. 150.

    , , , & To see or not to see: prestimulus α phase predicts visual awareness. J. Neurosci. 29, 2725–2732 (2009).

  151. 151.

    & Attention samples stimuli rhythmically. Curr. Biol. 22, 1000–1004 (2012).

  152. 152.

    , & Rhythmic sampling within and between objects despite sustained attention at a cued location. Curr. Biol. 23, 2553–2558 (2013).

  153. 153.

    , , , & Rhythmic oscillations of visual contrast sensitivity synchronized with action. J. Neurosci. 35, 7019–7029 (2015).

  154. 154.

    & Rhythms for cognition: the case of temporal processing. Curr. Opin. Behav. Sci. 8, 85–93 (2016).

  155. 155.

    , & The noradrenergic α2 agonist clonidine modulates behavioural and neuroanatomical correlates of human attentional orienting and alerting. Cereb. Cortex 11, 73–84 (2001).

  156. 156.

    et al. Lengthened temporal integration in schizophrenia. Neuropsychologia 51, 372–376 (2013).

  157. 157.

    , , & Movement-related potentials in Parkinson's disease: presence and predictability of temporal and spatial cues. Brain 118, 935–950 (1995).

  158. 158.

    , , & A shift from prospective to reactive modulation of beta-band oscillations in Parkinson's disease. NeuroImage 100, 507–519 (2014).

  159. 159.

    et al. Attention-related EEG markers in adult ADHD. Neuropsychologia 87, 120–133 (2016).

  160. 160.

    , , & Prestimulus inhibition of saccades in adults with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder as an index of temporal expectations. Psychol. Sci. 28, 835–850 (2017).

  161. 161.

    & Timing functions of the cerebellum. J. Cogn. Neurosci. 1, 136–152 (1989).

  162. 162.

    , & The cerebellum predicts the timing of perceptual events. J. Neurosci. 28, 2252–2260 (2008).

  163. 163.

    et al. The cerebellum predicts the temporal consequences of observed motor acts. PLoS ONE 10, e0116607 (2015).

  164. 164.

    , , & Into the groove: can rhythm influence Parkinson's disease? Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 37, 2564–2570 (2013).

  165. 165.

    et al. Phase II trial of a syllable-timed speech treatment for school-age children who stutter. J. Fluency Disord. 48, 44–55 (2016).

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge support from a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (A.C.N.) (104571/Z/14/Z), a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission (F.v.E.) (grant code ACCESS2WM) and the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre. The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging is supported by core funding from the Wellcome Trust (203139/Z/16/Z). The authors also wish to thank K. Nussenbaum, A. Cravo, R. Auksztulewicz, S. Heideman and N. Myers for their thoughtful comments in the course of preparing this review, as well as A. Irvine and A. Board for their help with the bibliography. The authors also thank the reviewers for excellent constructive comments.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 7JX, UK.

    • Anna C. Nobre
    •  & Freek van Ede

Authors

  1. Search for Anna C. Nobre in:

  2. Search for Freek van Ede in:

Contributions

A.C.N. and F.v.E. researched data for the article, made substantial contributions to discussions of the content, wrote the article and reviewed and/or edited the manuscript before submission.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anna C. Nobre.

Glossary

Temporal structures

Any repeating sets of intervals among two or more items.

Selective attention

The set of functions that prioritize and select relevant information to guide adaptive behaviour.

Receptive field

(RF). The aspect of the sensory environment to which a neuron is responsive — for example, a spatial location or a stimulus feature such as auditory pitch or visual orientation.

Temporal expectation

The state of the cognitive or neural system associated with the predicted timing of an event. The term has no implications concerning volition, awareness or conscious deliberation.

Predictive coding

A theoretical framework in which perceptual inferences are based on the difference between predicted and observed sensory inputs.

Learning theory

A theoretical framework for how learning is shaped by associations between stimuli or between actions and rewards. In reinforcement learning, for example, a key principle is that learning is driven by prediction errors (the differences in value between predicted and observed rewards).

Posner's spatial orienting task

An influential spatial attention task developed by Posner in which symbolic cues inform the most probable location of a future target stimulus.

Isochronous

Of a temporal structure with a constant inter-element interval; a regular beat.

Ordinal sequence

The order of elements that make up a sequence. For example, in SRT tasks, this refers to the order of the spatially arranged items to which participants must respond.

Temporal sequence

The timings between elements that make up a sequence.

Interval-time range

Cognitively relevant time range that ranges from several hundreds of milliseconds to several seconds.

Temporal updating

Updating of cognitive variables — such as expectations, the allocation of attention or movement plans — on the basis of estimates of elapsed time.

Evidence accumulation

The build-up of evidence for one of multiple perceptual decisions. In the literature on perceptual decision making, this is often studied using perceptual streams in which individual samples are insufficiently reliable, thus necessitating the integration of perceptual evidence over time.

Trace conditioning

A variation of classical conditioning in which the conditioned stimulus (such as a tone) and unconditioned stimulus (for example, an air puff) are separated by an empty time interval of a given duration.

Motor potential

Change in voltage associated with activity recorded from the muscle (electromyogram) upon stimulating the corresponding area of the primary motor cortex.

Event-related potentials

(ERPs). The average electrophysiological responses that are locked in time to a particular event of interest, such as a stimulus, action or other physiological marker.

Contingent negative variation

(CNV). A negative potential broadly distributed over the scalp that builds up before a target stimulus. Its intracranial sources include brain areas linked to motor preparation.

Phase

A point in an oscillatory period between 0 and 2π, corresponding to trough, rising slope, peak and so on.

P1 visual potential

A stereotypical event-related potential response that is characterized by a positive deflection in posterior sites approximately 100 ms after a visual input.