Scientific article
Open access

Entrained delta oscillations reflect the subjective tracking of time

Published inCommunicative & Integrative Biology, vol. 10, no. 5-6, e1349583
Publication date2017

The ability to precisely anticipate the timing of upcoming events at the time-scale of seconds is essential to predict objects' trajectories or to select relevant sensory information. What neurophysiological mechanism underlies the temporal precision in anticipating the occurrence of events? In a recent article,1 we demonstrated that the sensori-motor system predictively controls neural oscillations in time to optimize sensory selection. However, whether and how the same oscillatory processes can be used to keep track of elapsing time and evaluate short durations remains unclear. Here, we aim at testing the hypothesis that the brain tracks durations by converting (external, objective) elapsing time into an (internal, subjective) oscillatory phase-angle. To test this, we measured magnetoencephalographic oscillatory activity while participants performed a delayed-target detection task. In the delayed condition, we observe that trials that are perceived as longer are associated with faster delta-band oscillations. This suggests that the subjective indexing of time is reflected in the range of phase-angles covered by delta oscillations during the pre-stimulus period. This result provides new insights into how we predict and evaluate temporal structure and support models in which the active entrainment of sensori-motor oscillatory dynamics is exploited to track elapsing time.

NoteAddendum to: Luc H. Arnal, Keith B. Doelling, David Poeppel; Delta–Beta Coupled Oscillations Underlie Temporal Prediction Accuracy. Cereb Cortex 2015; 25 (9):3077-3085. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu103
Citation (ISO format)
ARNAL, Luc, KLEINSCHMIDT, Andréas Karl. Entrained delta oscillations reflect the subjective tracking of time. In: Communicative & Integrative Biology, 2017, vol. 10, n° 5-6, p. e1349583. doi: 10.1080/19420889.2017.1349583
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1942-0889

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