When temporal certainty doesn’t help

Flor Kusnir, Slav Pesin, Gal Moscona, Ayelet N. Landau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In a dynamically changing environment, the ability to capture regularities in our sensory input helps us generate predictions about future events. In most sensory systems, the basic finding is clear: Knowing when something will happen improves performance on it [Nobre, A. C., & van Ede, F. (2017). Anticipated moments: Temporal structure in attention. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 19, 34–48, 2017]. We here examined the impact of temporal predictions on a less-explored modality: touch. Participants were instructed to detect a brief target embedded in an ongoing vibrotactile stimulus. Unbeknownst to them, the experiment had two timing conditions: In one part, the time of target onset was fixed and thus temporally predictable, whereas in the other, it could appear at a random time within the ongoing stimulation. We found a clear modulation of detection thresholds due to temporal predictability: Contrary to other sensory systems, detecting a predictable tactile target was worse relative to unpredictable targets. We discuss our findings within the framework of tactile suppression.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)315-325
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by funds from the James McDonnell Scholar Award for Understanding Human Cognition, the National Israeli Psychobiology Institute, and the Israel Science Foundation (all awarded to A. N. L.). As a library fellow, A. N. L.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Dive into the research topics of 'When temporal certainty doesn’t help'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this