A neurocomputational model of temporal processing: evidence from sequence experiments

Joachim Hass, J. Michael Herrmann, Stefan Blaschke, Thomas Rammsayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Humans can estimate the duration of intervals of time, and psychophysical experiments show that these estimations are subject to timing errors. According to standard theories of timing, these errors increase linearly with the interval to be estimated (Weber’s law), and both at longer and shorter intervals, deviations from linearity are reported. This is not easily reconciled with the accumulation of neuronal noise, which would only lead to an increase with the square root of the interval. Here, we offer a neuronal model which explains the form of the error function as a result of a constrained optimization process. The model consists of a number of synfire chains with different transmission times, which project onto a set of readout neurons. We show that an increase in the transmission time corresponds to a superlinear increase of the timing errors. Under the assumption of a fixed chain length, the experimentally observed error function emerges from optimal selection of chains for each given interval. Furthermore, we show how this optimal selection could be implemented by competitive spike-timing dependent plasticity in the connections from the chains to the readout network, and discuss implications of our model on selective temporal learning and possible neural architectures of interval timing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-2
Number of pages2
JournalBMC Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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