Sensorimotor predictions are essential for adaptive behavior. In natural environments, events that demand sensorimotor predictions unfold across many timescales, and corresponding temporal predictions (either explicit or implicit) should therefore emerge in brain dynamics. Neuronal oscillations are scale-specific processes found in several frequency bands. They underlie periodicity in sensorimotor processing and can represent temporal predictions via their phase dynamics. These processes build upon endogenous neural rhythmicity and adapt in response to exogenous timing demands. While much of the research on periodicity in neural processing has focused on subsecond oscillations, these fast-scale rhythms are in fact paralleled by critical-like, scale-free dynamics and fluctuations of brain activity at various timescales, ranging from seconds to hundreds of seconds. In this review, we put forth a framework positing that critical brain dynamics are essential for the role of neuronal oscillations in timing and that cross-frequency coupling flexibly organizes neuronal processing across multiple frequencies.
- scale-free temporal predictions