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date: 19 November 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter takes attention into the fourth dimension by considering research that explores how predictive information in the temporal structure of events can contribute to optimizing perception. The authors review behavioural and neural findings from three lines of investigation in which the temporal regularity and predictability of events are manipulated through rhythms, hazard functions, and cues. The findings highlight the fundamental role temporal expectations play in shaping several aspects of performance, from early perceptual analysis to motor preparation. They also reveal modulation of neural activity by temporal expectations all across the brain. General principles of how temporal expectations are generated and bias information processing are still emerging. The picture so far suggests that there may be multiple sources of temporal expectation, which can bias multiple stages of stimulus analysis depending on the stages of information processing that are critical for task performance. Neural oscillations are likely to provide an important medium through which the anticipated timing of events can regulate neuronal excitability.

Keywords: temporal expectations, temporal orienting, spatial attention, entrainment, active sensing, communication through coherence, neural oscillations

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