Can we use temporal information to enhance perceptual processing of events happening at predicted time points? This is the question addressed in a new study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience. In this study we combined a psychophysical task with electrophysiological recordings to test whether the entrainment of brain oscillations to rhythmic events modulates the contrast gain during visual processing. The results indicated that the phase entrainment of low-frequency oscillations in visual cortex serve as an important and flexible mechanism for sensory selection. The results build on recent interest in predictive mechanisms in cognition, the role of oscillatory network dynamics in perception and cognition, and a renaissance of research into how the brain can use time to enhance information processing.
Cravo AM, Rohenkohl G, Wyart V and Nobre AC (2013). Temporal Expectation Enhances Contrast Sensitivity by Phase Entrainment of Low-Frequency Oscillations in Visual Cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(9):4002 4010;doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4675-12.2013