Sensory Drive Modifies Brain Dynamics and the Temporal Integration Window

Golan Karvat, Nir Ofir, Ayelet N. Landau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Perception is suggested to occur in discrete temporal windows, clocked by cycles of neural oscillations. An important testable prediction of this theory is that individuals' peak frequencies of oscillations should correlate with their ability to segregate the appearance of two successive stimuli. An influential study tested this prediction and showed that individual peak frequency of spontaneously occurring alpha (8-12 Hz) correlated with the temporal segregation threshold between two successive flashes of light [Samaha, J., & Postle, B. R. The speed of alpha-band oscillations predicts the temporal resolution of visual perception. Current Biology, 25, 2985-2990, 2015]. However, these findings were recently challenged [Buergers, S., & Noppeney, U. The role of alpha oscillations in temporal binding within and across the senses. Nature Human Behaviour, 6, 732-742, 2022]. To advance our understanding of the link between oscillations and temporal segregation, we devised a novel experimental approach. Rather than relying entirely on spontaneous brain dynamics, we presented a visual grating before the flash stimuli that is known to induce continuous oscillations in the gamma band (45-65 Hz). By manipulating the contrast of the grating, we found that high contrast induces a stronger gamma response and a shorter temporal segregation threshold, compared to low-contrast trials. In addition, we used a novel tool to characterize sustained oscillations and found that, for half of the participants, both the low- and high-contrast gratings were accompanied by a sustained and phase-locked alpha oscillation. These participants tended to have longer temporal segregation thresholds. Our results suggest that visual stimulus drive, reflected by oscillations in specific bands, is related to the temporal resolution of visual perception.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)614-631
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024

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© 2023 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.


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