Events

One goal of time research is to link the dynamics of brain processes (temporal processes) with the conscious experience of time (time perception). Traditionally, the hallmark of time perception has been the experience of duration requiring at least two temporal markers: onset and offset of an event delimiting an interval or ‘time quantity’ that the brain needs to estimate in order to elicit our experience of time. It has become clear that neural oscillations provide a logistical platform for “timing” in cortex: functionally distinct frequency bands have been shown to serve as diverse purposes as speech processing, attentional selection, working memory or conscious awareness. Indeed, the temporal structure of brain dynamics does not solely serve timing functions but more canonical operations relevant to temporal event structuring at all scales. Can distinct neurophysiological markers index the structuring of events in time specifically for temporal cognition?

I will show that the encoding and structuring of events in time capitalize on the natural dynamics of brain processes at an early stage of sensory processing thereby impacting perception at large. Multisensory and supramodal processing will be used as relevant illustrations to address this issue. For instance, attentional selection across auditory and visual sensory modalities will be shown to be bounded in time in agreement with recent neurophysiological findings. Additionally, the phase of entrained neural oscillations can serve as a first operation in the temporal structuring of events by automatically flagging events and encoding order across sensory modalities. Neural markers of temporal event structuring dedicated to temporal cognition can be clearly demarcated from generic markers of perception/cognition while naturally constraining perceptual and cognitive processes. The case for multiplex encoding in the brain will be exposed.