Temporal encoding is a key feature in multisensory processing that leads to the integration versus segregation of perceived events over time. Whether or not two events presented at different offsets are perceived as simultaneous varies widely across the general population. Such tolerance to temporal delays is known as the temporal binding window (TBW). It has been recently suggested that individual oscillatory alpha frequency (IAF) peak may represent the electrophysiological correlate of TBW, with IAF also showing a wide variability in the general population (8-12 Hz). In our work, we directly tested this hypothesis by measuring each individual's TBW during a visuotactile simultaneity judgment task while concurrently recording their electrophysiological activity. We found that the individual's TBW significantly correlated with their left parietal IAF, such that faster IAF accounted for narrower TBW. Furthermore, we found that higher prestimulus alpha power measured over the same left parietal regions accounted for more veridical responses of non-simultaneity, which may be explained either by accuracy in perceptual simultaneity or, alternatively, in line with recent proposals by a shift in response bias from more conservative (high alpha power) to more liberal (low alpha power). We propose that the length of an alpha cycle constrains the temporal resolution within which perceptual processes take place.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience