Sabine Kastner and crew show that when humans are cued to direct their attention to part of an object, uncued locations that are part of the same object are sampled periodically at about 8 Hz.  Different, uncued, objects are also sampled at 4 Hz.  This adds to a growing body of evidence that attention, and cognition in general, is rhythmic not continuous.

For reviews on this topic see:

  • Buschman,T.J. and Miller, E.K. (2010) Shifting the Spotlight of Attention: Evidence for Discrete Computations in Cognition. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 4(194): 1-9. View PDF »
  • Miller, E.K. and Buschman, T.J. “Brain Rhythms for Cognition and Consciousness”. Neurosciences and the Human Person: New Perspectives on Human Activities A. Battro, S. Dehaene and W. Singer (eds), Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Scripta Varia 121, Vatican City, 2013.  View PDF
About the Author

The Miller Lab uses experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of the high-level cognitive functions that underlie complex goal-directed behavior.