N1-P2: Neural markers of temporal expectation and response discrimination in interval timing

Duzcu H., ÖZKURT T. E., Mapelli I., Hohenberger A.

ACTA NEUROBIOLOGIAE EXPERIMENTALIS, vol.79, no.2, pp.193-204, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 79 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.21307/ane-2019-0017
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.193-204
  • Keywords: temporal expectation, interval timing, N1, P2, response discrimination, attention, EVENT-RELATED POTENTIALS, SELECTIVE ATTENTION, MECHANISMS, CHILDREN, TIME, INHIBITION, MODULATION, NONTARGET, DURATION, STIMULI
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Humans use temporal regularities in their daily life to act in accordance with future events in the most efficient way. To achieve this, humans build temporal expectations and determine a template action that is in line with those expectations. In this temporal trisection study, we aimed to study the neurophysiological counterparts of temporal expectation and response discrimination. We investigated amplitude variations of early event-related potentials (ERPs) while manipulating time intervals. We measured temporal expectation-related attenuation of neural activity and response discrimination processes in N1 and P2 ERP components. Results showed that the amplitude of the N1 component was attenuated for the predicted task-relevant temporal location of a response decision. The P2 amplitude, in contrast, was enhanced for a discriminated response in comparison to a template response. The present study supports a link between the different functional associations of the N1 and P2 components within the requirements of a timing task. N1-related amplitude modulation can determine a change in expectation level during timing. The amplitude regulation of the P2 component, in contrast, explains temporal discrimination in both expected and unexpected temporal locations. In addition to expectation-related modulation, our results suggest an additional regulation of the N1 amplitude that is linked to attention. The effect was observed in instances that included a prediction error of a task-relevant temporal location for a response decision. In conclusion, our study contributes to the growing neurocognitive literature on interval timing by capturing different aspects of a timing task; namely, NI-related expectation and P2-related response discrimination processes.