Vortrag von Alexander Kraut (GEMI): "On the galley drummer of the visual system: how neural rhythms form our perception of now and then"

Wann 22.01.2021
von 13:15 bis 14:45
Wo Online
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The galley, a vessel designed for either trade or war, was propelled by the synchronized rowing effort of up to 170 men. Since a desynchronization of rowing would result in the galley to move chaotically, a drummer enforced the same rhythm on all rowers. The galley is thus an example for a complex system that is only functioning through the temporal synchronization of its sub units’ effort. In this talk I want to pose the question whether the functioning of our neural system is also depending on a synchronization of its neural populations and whether this synchronization is the result of a rhythm induced by a ‘neural drummer’.

To shed light on this question, I will especially focus on the idea that our visual perception is governed by perceptual rhythms. In this view, our conscious visual perception consists of a succession of psychological moments, the smallest unit of time that we can perceive. Current experimental evidence suggests that each psychological moment results from a temporal integration window, a property of our neural system that synchronizes neural processing and collects information for an extended period of time before integrating them all to the same moment in time; a snapshot of reality.

Findings from our laboratory support this idea and demonstrate that temporal integration windows may form in the alpha as well as beta rhythms of our neural processing. The stability of these rhythms allows us to predict the temporal content of our participants’ conscious perception as early as 400 ms before the relevant stimuli were presented to them. Using a metacontrast masking paradigm as the basis of our investigation, we were able to circumvent critical drawbacks of other paradigms in the temporal research literature. We thereby provide a clear investigation of the visual system’s temporal organization and the ‘neural drummers’ that are governing it.