Seeing Objects in Rhythms
How many impressions can our brain hold in mind at any moment? How long lasts one moment? And do we see and think in a continuous flow or in discrete steps? The research project “Seeing Objects in Rhythms” funded through a Lise-Meitner fellowship by the Austrian Science Fund FWF aims to shed light on these fundamental enigmas of human information processing.
My core hypothesis: Objects are not continuously tracked but rhythmically sampled, and capacity limits root in the speed of the sampling rhythm.
Starting from a theoretical model for multiple-object processing based on discrete, periodic sampling cycles, my research project uses high-temporal resolution neuro-imaging techniques (i.e. magnetoencephalography, MEG) to capture and neuro-stimulation methods to shape the rhythmic impact of brain processes on object capacity. Classically, object capacity is thought of a mental limit to the amount of processed information in our spatial (3-D) surrounding. But things around us move and change over time, and so do our mental and neural processes (in 4-D). My research links rhythmic fluctuations in attention over time to object memory and identifies a temporal architecture for cognition in neural oscillation patterns.