The dynamics of attending: How people track time-varying events., EW Large, MR Jones – Psychological review, 1999 -

Ah ha! I think this is the source of the theory I’ve been edging towards. Hope it’s what I hope it is. Now to find it.

The dynamics of attending: How people track time-varying events., EW Large, MR Jones – Psychological review, 1999 –

A theory of attentional dynamics is proposed and aimed at explaining how listeners respond to systematic change in everyday events while retaining a general sense of their rhythmic structure. The approach describes attending as the behavior of internal oscillations


Stuff I’m learning:
CLOCKS exist because HUMANS don’t tell time in discrete units. BUT we are flexible with time.
“Finally, the internal timing mechanisms we use
to track events do not mirror mechanical clocks,
for good reasons. Our biological clocks are on-
going neural oscillations that fluctuate spontane -
ously, hence they are less precise than mechanical
clocks in certain respects. However, they compen-
sate for their imprecision in capturing discrete
time intervals with a potential for adapting to
variable timing, enabling them to track changing
events and to even adjust to unexpected timings.
This adaptive facility of biological, i.e., neural,
rhythms makes them capable of synchronizing
to dynamically changing time patterns of real-
world events. Had we inherited internal clocks
that operate like wristwatches or hourglasses in-
stead of adaptive oscillators, we would perform
better in traditional time perception tasks but
much worse in everyday tasks that require flexible
attending to dynamically changing contexts in our
Got to a point in the text where they’re talking about: “Cross-Frequency Couplings: Complex Attractors”, which perked me right up as that’s RATIOS, one of things about Chaos that blows me away.
But to get confirmation that what I’m reading isn’t pie-in-the-sky theory, I looked up cross-frequency couplings and I found a study that mentioned them and did measurements and came up with beautiful graphs like this:
“Biologically, the emergence of a primitive gradient topology can be attributed to the remarkable rapidity of spontaneous cell divisions in a fetus at conception, which determine the corresponding narrow spacing of unit – spacing that widens as growth rate slows.”
woah this is a connection i never made: It’s a natural multilayered sieve but at a high resolution, if you were to start at the newest, longest cells that grew more slowly.
This Dynamic Attending Theory is really nailing it for me so far.
You know the expression, “Neurons that fire together, wire together?”
“From a DAT perspective, primitive oscillator
configurations arise from resonance and entrain-
ment constraints. Resulting group members “be-
long” together by virtue of their synchronizing
potentials. Synchrony depends on entrainment,
which, in turn, relies on resonance supplied by os-
cillator activities.”
This validates the categories of oscillations as not being arbitrary.
For me, this is exciting because categorization in general is one of those subjects that fascinates me and to see the idea of NATURAL categories arising from loosely coupled oscillation patterns spread across the brain that quickly strengthen to have strong attractor relationships (that can get quite complicated but still measurable) gives me hope for OTHER types of potentially natural categorizations. How? I don’t know yet.

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