Our everyday interactions increasingly involve both embodied face-to-face communication and various forms of mediated and distributed communication such as email, skype, and facebook. In daily face-to-face communications, we are connected in rhythm and synchrony at multiple levels ranging from the moment-by-moment continuity of timed syllables to emergent body and vocal rhythms of pragmatic sense-making. Our human capacity to synchronize with each other may be essential for our survival as social beings. Moving our bodies and voices together in time embodies (...) a potent pragmatic purpose that of being together. In this synchrony of self with other, witnessing and being present become part of each other. There is growing research into how rhythm and synchrony operate in embodied face-to-face interaction and this provides parameters for investigating the relations and differences in how we connect and are socially present in the embodied and distributed settings, and understanding the effect of one setting upon the other. This paper explores the arena of research into rhythm in human interaction, musical and linguistic, with a focus on the movements of body and voice. It draws together salient issues and ideas that would form the basis for a framework of rhythm in embodied interaction. (shrink)
We discuss the role of synchrony of activationin higher-level cognitive processes. Inparticular, we analyze the question of whethersynchrony of activation provides a mechanismfor compositional representation in neuralsystems. We will argue that synchrony ofactivation does not provide a mechanism forcompositional representation in neural systems.At face value, one can identify a level ofcompositional representation in the models thatintroduce synchrony of activation for thispurpose. But behavior in these models isalways produced by means conjunctiverepresentations in the form of coincidencedetectors. Therefore, models (...) that rely onsynchrony of activation lack the systematicityand productivity of true compositional systems.As a result, they cannot distinguish betweentype and token representations, which resultsin misrepresentations of spatial relations andpropositions. Furthermore, higher-levelcognitive processes will likely integrateinformation from widely distributed areas inthe brain, which puts severe restrictions onthe underlying neural dynamics if synchrony ofactivation is to play a role in theseprocesses. We will briefly discuss theserestrictions in the case of feature binding invisual cognition. (shrink)
Several studies have now documented menstrual synchrony in human females. There is a broad consensus that the phenomenon mainly occurs in women who spend a significant amount of time together, such as close friends and coworkers, and that social contact rather than a similar environment plays an important role in mediating the effect. However, the mechanisms involved and the adaptive function of menstrual synchrony are not understood. There is some evidence that olfactory cues between females might underlie the (...) effect. More research is needed before the precise mechanisms that regulate menstrual synchrony are elucidated. (shrink)
Synchrony, or the coordinated processing of time, is an often-overlooked yet critical context for human interaction. This study tests the relationship between the ability to synchronize rhythmically in a group setting with the ability to attend in 102 elementary schoolchildren. Impairments in temporal processing have frequently been shown to exist in clinical populations with learning disorders, particularly those with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Based on this evidence, we hypothesized that the ability to synchronize rhythmically in a group setting—an (...) instance of the type of temporal processing necessary for successful interaction and learning—would be correlated with the ability to attend across the continuum of the population. A music class is an ideal setting for the study of interpersonal timing. In order to measure synchrony in this context, we constructed instruments that allowed the recording and measurement of individual rhythmic performance. The SWAN teacher questionnaire was used as a measurement of attentional behavior. We find that the ability to synchronize with others in a group music class can predict a child’s attentional behavior. (shrink)
Although more than thirty years of intensive investigation have passed since McClintock first published results on menstrual synchrony, there is still no conclusive evidence for the existence of this phenomenon. Indeed, a growing body of nullresult studies, critiques of menstrual synchrony studies, and the lack of convincing evolutionary explanations bring into question the existence of this phenomenon. This paper presents results of a study conducted over five consecutive months in Polish student dormitories. In 18 pairs and 21 triples (...) of college-age women, menstrual synchrony was not found. Social interactions, considered the most important factor mediating the effect of menstrual synchrony, was unrelated to any difference in menstrual cycle onsets. Initial menstrual onset difference was influenced by woman’s body mass and menstrual cycle irregularity. These results provide further evidence that women do not synchronize their menstrual cycles. (shrink)
A central issue in philosophy and neuroscience is the problem of unified visual consciousness. This problem has arisen because we now know that an object's stimulus features (e.g., its color, texture, shape, etc.) generate activity in separate areas of the visual cortex (Felleman & Van Essen, 1991). For example, recent evidence indicates that there are very few, if any, neural connections between specific visual areas, such as those that correlate with color and motion (Bartels & Zeki, 2006; Zeki, 2003). So (...) how do unified objects arise in visual consciousness? Some neuroscientists propose that neural synchrony is the mechanism that binds an object's features into a unity (e.g., see Crick, 1994; Crick & Koch, 1990; Engel, 2003; Roelfsema, 1998; Singer, 1996; von der Malsburg, 1996, 1999). I argue, on both empirical and philosophical grounds, that neural synchrony fails to explain the unity of visual consciousness. (shrink)
The default mode network (DMN) has been consistently activated across a wide variety of self-related tasks, leading to a proposal of the DMN’s role in self-related processing. Indeed, there is limited fMRI evidence that the functional connectivity within the DMN may underlie a phenomenon referred to as self-awareness. At the same time, none of the known studies have explicitly investigated neuronal functional interactions among brain areas that comprise the DMN as a function of self-consciousness loss. To fill this gap, EEG (...) operational synchrony analysis was performed in patients with severe brain injuries in vegetative and minimally conscious states to study the strength of DMN operational synchrony as a function of self-consciousness expression. We demonstrated that the strength of DMN EEG operational synchrony was smallest or even absent in patients in vegetative state, intermediate in patients in minimally conscious state and highest in healthy fully self-conscious subjects. At the same time the process of decoupling of operations performed by neuronal assemblies that comprise the DMN was highest in patients in vegetative state, intermediate in patients in minimally conscious state and minimal in healthy fully self-conscious subjects. The DMN’s frontal EEG operational module had the strongest decrease in operational synchrony strength as a function of selfconsciousness loss, when compared with the DMN’s posterior modules. Based on these results it is suggested that the strength of DMN functional connectivity could mediate the strength of self-consciousness expression. The observed alterations similarly occurred across EEG alpha, beta1 and beta2 frequency oscillations. Presented results suggest that the EEG operational synchrony within DMN may provide an objective and accurate measure for the assessment of signs of self-(un)consciousness in these challenging patient populations. This method therefore, may complement the current diagnostic procedures for patients with severe brain injuries and, hence, the planning of a rational rehabilitation intervention. (shrink)
Contrary to the assertions made in the target article, temporal synchrony, coupled with an appropriate choice of representational primitives, leads to a functionally adequate and neurally plausible architecture that addresses the massiveness of the binding problem, the problem of 2, the problem of variables, and the transformation of activity-based transient representations of events and situations into structure-based persistent encodings of the same.
A number of physical processes and experimental procedures are listed which appear to be inexplicable in the context of the conventionality thesis of Reichenbach and Grünbaum. Distant synchrony can be produced by procedures based on the free displacement or rotation of elastic solids. Results are expected to agree with Einstein's definition of distant synchrony (by means of light signals, assuming isotropy). The one-way velocity of light can be measured using a rotating shaft, slotted disks, and one stationary clock.
We present a model for generating a kind of neural synchrony in which the individual spike trains of one neuron or group of neurons closely match the spike trains of another. This kind of neural synchrony has been observed in animals performing auditory, visual and attentional information processing tasks. Our model is realized in a system of functionally identical, refractory spiking neurons. Larger systems with more sophisticated information processing capabilities can be constructed from aggregated instances of the basic (...) network. (shrink)
In the dyadic and triadic sharing of emotions, intentions, and behaviors in families, interactive synchrony is important to the early life experiences that contribute to the development of cultural cognition. This synchrony likely depends on neurobiological circuits, currently under study with brain imaging, that involve attention, stress response, and memory.
As part of a series of Ethnomethodological Studies of Work, this paper focusses upon a short stretch of a final concert performance of the Saint-Saens Septet by a set of amateur musicians in which timing errors occur but in response to which various manoeuvres successfully restore synchrony. I set out to demonstrate that these afford a strategic access for ethnomethodologists to sets of musicians' practices whereby musical synchrony is ongoingly accomplished. The central curiosity of this study is the (...) set of distinctive practices whereby a musical text set out in a spatial, linear sequence of markings is realized in a collective performance that unfolds not only in precise time values but also in synchrony.This paper analyzes three errors in a short passage and the ways in which they are corrected either by the errant musician himself or by the other musician in response. In these cases, the restoration of synchrony and the routine performance of the piece thereafter are accomplished successfully in the sense that those listening to the tape of it generally fail to notice any problem! This contrasts to my detection of problems during both my participation in the performance and repeated listening of the resulting audio-tape, I argue that it is this systematic difference in possible hearings that musicians are oriented to when attempting to fake it. Thus, the essential interest is in members' methods for maintaining as well as restoring synchrony. (shrink)
& How does neuronal activity bring about the interpretation of visual space in terms of objects or complex perceptual events? If they group, simple visual features can bring about the integration of spikes from neurons responding to different features to within a few milliseconds. Considered as a potential solution to the ‘‘binding problem,’’ it is suggested that neuronal synchronization is the glue for binding together different features of the same object. This idea receives some support from correlated- and periodic-stimulus motion (...) paradigms, both of which suggest that the segregation of a figure from ground is a direct result of the temporal correlation of visual signals. One could say that perception of a highly correlated visual.. (shrink)
_Figure 1. Dendrites and cell bodies of schematic neurons connected by dendritic-dendritic gap junctions form a laterally connected input_ _layer (“dendritic web”) within a neurocomputational architecture. Dendritic web dynamics are temporally coupled to gamma synchrony_ _EEG, and correspond with integration phases of “integrate and fire” cycles. Axonal firings provide input to, and output from, integration_ _phases (only one input, and three output axons are shown). Cell bodies/soma contain nuclei shown as black circles; microtubule networks_ _pervade the cytoplasm. According to the (...) Orch OR theory, gamma EEG-synchronized integration phases include quantum computations in_ _microtubule networks which culminate with conscious moments. Insert closeup shows a gap junction through which microtubule quantum_ _states entangle among different neurons, enabling macroscopic quantum states in dendritic webs extending throughout cortex and other_ _brain regions._. (shrink)
Recent findings in neuroscience strongly suggest that an object’s features (e.g., its color, texture, shape, etc.) are represented in separate areas of the visual cortex. Although represented in separate neuronal areas, somehow the feature representations are brought together as a single, unified object of visual consciousness. This raises a question of binding: how do neural activities in separate areas of the visual cortex function to produce a feature-unified object of visual consciousness? Several prominent neuroscientists have adopted neural synchrony and (...) attention-based approaches to explain object feature binding. I argue that although neural synchrony and attentional mechanisms might function to disambiguate an object’s features, it is difficult to see how either of these mechanisms could fully explain the unity of an object’s features at the level of visual consciousness. After presenting a detailed critique of neural synchrony and attention-based approaches to object feature binding, I propose interactive hierarchical structuralism (IHS). This view suggests that a unified percept (i.e., a feature-unified object of visual consciousness) is not reducible to the activity of any cognitive capacity or to any localized neural area, but emerges out of the interaction of visual information organized by spatial structuring capacities correlated with lower, higher, and intermediate levels of the visual hierarchy. After clarifying different notions of emergence and elaborating evidence for IHS, I discuss how IHS can be tested through transcranial magnetic stimulation and backward masking. In the final section I present some further implications and advantages of IHS. (shrink)
Based on the theoretical analysis of self-consciousness concepts, we hypothesized that the spatio-temporal pattern of functional connectivity within the default-mode network (DMN) should persist unchanged across a variety of different cognitive tasks or acts, thus being task-unrelated. This supposition is in contrast with current understanding that DMN activated when the subjects are resting and deactivated during any attention-demanding cognitive tasks. To test our proposal, we used, in retrospect, the results from our two early studies ([Fingelkurts, 1998] and [Fingelkurts et al., (...) 2003]). In both studies for the majority of experimental trails we indeed found a constellation of operationally synchronized cortical areas (indexed as DMN) that was persistent across all studied experimental conditions in all subjects. Furthermore, we found three major elements comprising this DMN: two symmetrical occipito-parieto-temporal and one frontal spatio-temporal patterns. This new data directly supports the notion that DMN has a specific functional connotation – it provides neurophysiologic basis for self-processing operations, namely first-person perspective taking and an experience of agency. -/- . (shrink)
During speech perception, humans integrate auditory information from the voice with visual information from the face. This multisensory integration increases perceptual precision, but only if the two cues come from the same talker; this requirement has been largely ignored by current models of speech perception. We describe a generative model of multisensory speech perception that includes this critical step of determining the likelihood that the voice and face information have a common cause. A key feature of the model is that (...) it is based on a principled analysis of how an observer should solve this causal inference problem using the asynchrony between two cues and the reliability of the cues. This allows the model to make predictions abut the behavior of subjects performing a synchrony judgment task, predictive power that does not exist in other approaches, such as post hoc fitting of Gaussian curves to behavioral data. We tested the model predictions against the performance of 37 subjects performing a synchrony judgment task viewing audiovisual speech under a variety of manipulations, including varying asynchronies, intelligibility, and visual cue reliability. The causal inference model outperformed the Gaussian model across two experiments, providing a better fit to the behavioral data with fewer parameters. Because the causal inference model is derived from a principled understanding of the task, model parameters are directly interpretable in terms of stimulus and subject properties. (shrink)
Background: Patients in a vegetative state pose problems in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. Currently, no prognostic markers predict the chance of recovery, which has serious consequences, especially in end-of-life decision-making. -/- Objective: We aimed to assess an objective measurement of prognosis using advanced electroencephalography (EEG). -/- Methods: EEG data (19 channels) were collected in 14 patients who were diagnosed to be persistently vegetative based on repeated clinical evaluations at 3 months following brain damage. EEG structure parameters (amplitude, duration and variability (...) within quasi-stationary segments, as well as the spatial synchrony between such segments and the strength of this synchrony) were used to predict recovery of consciousness 3 months later. -/- Results: The number and strength of cortical functional connections between EEG segments were higher in patients who recovered consciousness (P < .05 – P < .001) compared with those who did not recover. Linear regression analysis confirms that EEG structure parameters are capable of predicting (P = .0025) recovery of consciousness 6 months post-injury, whereas the same analysis failed to significantly predict patient outcome based on aspects of their clinical history alone (P = .629) or conventional EEG spectrum power (P = .473). -/- Conclusions: The result of this preliminary study demonstrates that structural strategy of EEG analysis is better suited for providing prognosis of consciousness recovery than existing methods of clinical assessment and of conventional EEG. Our results may be a starting point for developing reliable prognosticators in patients who are in vegetative state, with the potential to improve their day-to-day management, quality of life, and access to early interventions. (shrink)
Is there something special about the way music communicates feelings? Theorists since Meyer (1956) have attempted to explain how music could stimulate varied and subtle affective experiences, for example by violating learned expectancies, or by mimicking other forms of social interaction. Our proposal is that music speaks to the brain in its own language; it need not imitate any other form of communication. We review recent theoretical and empirical literature, which suggests that all conscious processes consist of dynamic neural events, (...) produced by spatially dispersed processes in the physical brain. Intentional thought and affective experience arise as dynamical aspects of neural events taking place in multiple brain areas simultaneously. At any given moment, this content comprises a unified “scene” that is integrated into a dynamic core through synchrony of neuronal oscillations. Core affect enables the binding of sensory information about a stimulus and the accompanying somatovisceral information to create valenced, dynamic representations of external events. We argue that neurodynamic synchrony with musical stimuli gives rise to musical qualia including tonal and temporal expectancies, and that music-synchronous responses couple into core neurodynamics, enabling music to directly modulate core affect. For example, expressive music performance may recruit rhythm-synchronous neural responses to support affective communication. We suggest that the dynamic relationship between musical expression and the experience of affect presents a unique opportunity for the study of emotional experience. This may help elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying arousal and valence, and offer a new approach to exploring the complex dynamics of the how and why of emotional experience. (shrink)
Visual information is fundamental to how we understand our environment, make predictions and interact with others. Recent research has underscored the importance of visuo-perceptual dysfunctions for cognitive deficits and pathophysiological processes in schizophrenia. In the current paper, we review evidence for the relevance of high frequency (beta/gamma) oscillations associated with the visuo-perceptual dysfunctions in schizophrenia. In the first part of the paper, we examine the relationship between beta/gamma band oscillations and visual processing during normal brain functioning. We then summarize studies (...) employing EEG/MEG which demonstrate reduced amplitude and synchrony of high-frequency activity during visual stimulation in schizophrenia. In the final part of the paper, we identify neurobiological correlates as well as offer perspectives for future research to stimulate further inquiry into the role of high-frequency oscillations in visual processing impairments in the disorder. (shrink)
A series of intriguing experiments has emphasized the need to understand synchronization effects. Information theory is proving to be an important tool for understanding the computations performed by cortical circuits. Nevertheless, Phillips & Singer's target article fails to provide a convincing correlation between synchronous firing and information transmission, which could well prove to be anticorrelated.
It is widely believed that women who live together or who are close friends synchronize their menstrual cycles. We reexamined this phenomenon in two ways. First, we collected data on menstrual cycles from 186 Chinese women living in dorms for over a year. We found that women living in groups did not synchronize their cycles. Second, we reviewed the first study reporting menstrual synchrony. We found that group synchrony in that study was at the level of chance. We (...) then show that cycle variability produces convergences and subsequent divergences of cycle onsets and may explain perceptions of synchrony. (shrink)
Philosophers have been talking about brain states for almost 50 years and as of yet no one has articulated a theoretical account of what one is. In fact this issue has received almost no attention and cognitive scientists still use meaningless phrases like 'C-fiber firing' and 'neuronal activity' when theorizing about the relation of the mind to the brain. To date when theorists do discuss brain states they usually do so in the context of making some other argument with the (...) result being that any discussion of what brain states are has a distinct en passant flavor. In light of this it is a goal of mine to make brain states the center of attention by providing some general discussion of them. I briefly look at the argument of Bechtel and Mundale, as I think that they expose a common misconception philosophers had about brain states early on. I then turn to briefly examining Polger's argument, as I think he offers an intuitive account of what we expect brain states to be as well as a convincing argument against a common candidate for knowledge about brain states that is currently "on the scene." I then introduce a distinction between brain states and states of the brain: Particular brain states occur against background states of the brain. I argue that brain states are patterns of synchronous neural firing, which reflects the electrical face of the brain; states of the brain are the gating and modulating of neural activity and reflect the chemical face of the brain. (shrink)