Dynamic Protention: The Architecture of Real-Time Cognition for Future Events

  • Mark A. ElliottEmail author
  • Liam Coleman
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 41)


For over 30 years now, a body of physiological evidence has been acquired which indicates that cognitive operations coordinate via the phase synchronization of neuronal firing. While usually ascribed to “binding,” i.e., the putting together of basic perceptual features to form more complex perceptual units, this ascription is not without critics, who identify phase synchronization as a function of sensorimotor coordination. From the perspective of an experimental paradigm used to measure the effects of stimulus synchronization, we discuss what is “bound” and attempt a reconciliation between perceptual and sensorimotor accounts of oscillatory synchronization. Our evidence identifies a role for synchronization in protentive coding, this is to say, coding in anticipation of a future event, and hence describes the architecture of real-time cognition for future events.


Generalized phase angle hypothesis Perception Priming Protention Return phase hypothesis Synchronization 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyNational University of Ireland GalwayGalwayIreland

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