Symposia abstracts > Wednesday 25th October 12pm-1.15pm

Temporal Prediction: Dynamics in Single Neurons and Networks (Matthew Matell, USA)

Speakers: Krystal Parker (USA), Joseph Paton (Portugal), Valerie Doyere (France), Dean Buonomano (USA)

While we have had a good understanding of the primary behavioral characteristics of temporal control for several decades (Gibbon, 1977), the psychological and neural mechanisms that give rise to this critical facet of behavior remain unclear. Indeed, there are a number of different classes of models, including accumulation and decay models, state-dependent network models using oscillators or intrinsic neural dynamics, and sequential-behavior models that all provide excellent accounts of the behavioral data. Similarly, the neural structures that might underlie these processes span the range of dedicated structures such as the striatum and cerebellum, to the intrinsic dynamics of small and large networks that can be exhibited throughout the brain (Ivry & Schlerf, 2008). Deciphering the mechanisms that underlie timing will therefore require investigating and perturbing the activity patterns of neurons in behaving animals (Merchant et al, 2013). This symposium will provide a forum in which four internationally renowned experts will discuss their work investigating neural activity within different brain areas and how their data support a particular framework for understanding temporal perception and control. Krystal Parker (University of Iowa) will provide evidence that frontal and cerebellar networks interact with one another to facilitate temporal control, and that dysfunction in these circuits contributes to schizophrenia-related temporal disorganization. Joseph Paton (Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown) will present activity patterns of the striatum and its midbrain dopaminergic input neurons and will discuss the direct involvement of these neurons in temporal prediction and control. Valérie Doyère (Paris-Saclay Institute of Neuroscience) will discuss time-related alterations in coupled neural activity patterns in the amygdala and striatum as subjects learn to predict the time of an aversive event. Finally, Dean Buonomano (University of California Los Angeles) will argue that the criticality of temporal prediction for adaptive behavior requires mechanisms that can exist throughout the nervous system. Together, this symposium will address whether network size and specialization is critical for temporal prediction, and whether these factors vary as a function of the duration and behavior in question. 




Temporal Binding of Actions to their Effects: Underlying Mechanisms and Implications for Cognition, Perception, and Development  (Marc Buehner & Teresa McCormack)

Speakers: Marc Buehner (UK), Alison Dennehy (UK), Sara Lorimer (UK), Christoph Hoerl (UK)

Temporal Binding (TB) refers to the mutual attraction in subjective time between a cause and its effect: Relative to single- event baseline judgments, people’s perception of causal actions and their outcomes systematically shifts in subjective awareness. Specifically, causal actions are perceived relatively later, while their outcomes are perceived relatively earlier action and outcome attract each other in subjective experience (Haggard, Clark, & Kalogeras, 2002) However, TB has also been reported when time perception is probed directly: Verbal estimates and reproductions of intervals between causal actions and their outcomes are reliably shorter than those of control intervals (Humphreys & Buehner, 2010), and psychophysical measures of causal vs non-causal intervals reveal shorter PSEs in the former than the latter case (Nolden, Haering, & Kiesel, 2012). Because the majority of demonstrations of TB deployed intentional action as the critical cause, TB is now increasingly deployed as a convenient proxy measure for sense of agency. Moreover, reduced TB for negative outcomes has been interpreted to reflect reduced sense of agency for actions that bring about negative consequences: For example, reduced TB for penalties delivered to a peer when following an experimenter’s instruction (as opposed to under free will) is taken to show that coercion reduces one’s sense of agency for self-action (Caspar, Christensen, Cleeremans, & Haggard, 2016).

The robustness and widespread use of TB notwithstanding, the structural underpinnings and wider implications of TB are still only poorly understood. Very little is known about whether it originates from changes to interval timing, event perception, or both, whether it follows from cue-combination or constraint-satisfaction processes, and how it relates to other cognitive processes. This symposium brings together perspectives from experimental and developmental psychology and philosophy to shine light on the mechanisms underlying TB as well as its implications in a wider context, and its usefulness as a proxy for less tangible constructs such as sense of agency, and causal belief. 



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