Anticipated moments: Temporal structure in attention

Anna C. Nobre*, Freek Van Ede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


We have come to recognize the brain as a predictive organ, anticipating attributes of the incoming sensory stimulation to guide perception and action in the service of adaptive behaviour. In the quest to understand the neural bases of the modulatory prospective signals that prioritize and select relevant events during perception, one fundamental dimension has until recently been largely overlooked: time. In this Review, we introduce the burgeoning field of temporal attention and illustrate how the brain makes use of various forms of temporal regularities in the environment to guide adaptive behaviour and influence neural processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-48
Number of pages15
JournalNature Reviews Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


The authors acknowledge support from a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award (A.C.N.) (104571/Z/14/Z), a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Commission (F.v.E.) (grant code ACCESS2WM) and the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre. The Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging is supported by core funding from the Wellcome Trust (203139/Z/16/Z). The authors also wish to thank K. Nussenbaum, A. Cravo, R. Auksztulewicz, S. Heideman and N. Myers for their thoughtful comments in the course of preparing this review, as well as A. Irvine and A. Board for their help with the bibliography. The authors also thank the reviewers for excellent constructive comments.

FundersFunder number
Wellcome Trust203139/Z/16/Z
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme655374
H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
National Institute for Health Research
European Commission
NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre


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