Thank you from TRF!

Dear all,

We would like to thank everyone who made TRF1 a phenomenal success –
including each and every one of the 271 registered particiants, all
symposium organizers, sponsors, student helpers from Strasbourg, and
the local organizers – Anne Giersch and Jenny Coull!

Thank you also to everyone who shared tweets, photos, and updates from
the conference and engaged with the wider scientific community.

We’ve created a shared folder to upload any photos that were taken
during the conference –

We will be sending a Feedback survey soon. This is an opportunity to
express your thoughts about this meeting and have a say about the
organization of future conferences and new initiatives by TRF.

A reminder for everyone to upload their TRF1 presentations at TRF’s
Open Science Foundation site – We would
like everyone to help the timing field move forward by embracing open
science and openly sharing your work. This will only work if everyone
contributes to it, and not just a select few!

Interested graduate students and postdoctoral researchers are invited
to apply to join the TRF Early Career Research Committee. Email with a statement of interest and how you would
like to contribute to TRF and proposals of how you would promote
timing research and early career researchers. Deadline: November 30,

(5) TRF2
TRF2 will be organized at the Institute of Neurobiology, Universidad
Nacional Autonoma de Mexico by Hugo Merchant and colleagues. The
timing of the conference (either 2018 or 2019) will be confirmed
following your responses to the feedback survey. We, therefore, urge
everyone to participate in the survey.

We would like to invite all participants to share a blog about their
experience of TRF1. Email your blogs to

With best wishes,
Sundeep & Argie

TRF1 Speaker Q&A – Aniruddh Patel

Aniruddh Patel is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Tufts University, who studies music cognition (including rhythm and timing) in humans and other species. He earned his Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. Before joining Tufts he was a Senior Fellow at The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego.


How can we determine the brain’s code for time?

Evolution rarely has just one way of solving a problem. It seems very unlikely that there is a single code for time in the brain. For example, the mechanisms behind circadian rhythms, musical beat perception, and spatiotemporal sequence learning in primary visual cortex are likely to be quite different. It the coming years it will be interesting to see which timing mechanisms are the most ancient and widespread in animal brains and which are more recently evolved and specialized in certain species.


What will your talk at the 1st Timing Research Forum Conference focus on?

New findings on monkey synchronization to a beat. One of the surprises in research on timing and rhythm has been the finding that when monkeys are trained to tap to a metronome, their taps do not anticipate metronome events, unlike humans. Instead, the taps lag metronome events by 200-300 ms. In contrast, when humans (even those with no musical training) tap with a metronome, they spontaneously align their taps very close in time to metronome events, indicating accurate prediction of metronome events.  This difference has been important for debates over possible species differences in beat-based timing abilities. Are monkeys capable of predictive temporal synchronization with a metronome? We recently found that if monkeys were trained to move their eyes to a spatialized visual metronome, and were given a reward for each predictive saccade, they could learn to synchronize to a metronome in a predictive way. They could also generalize this predictive synchronization to novel tempi, which is a key feature of human synchronization to a metronome. It remains to be seen if they can demonstrate predictive and tempo-flexible synchronization to an auditory metronome, which is the most widely studied form of sensorimotor synchronization in humans. I will discuss what our new findings suggests in terms of the evolution of human beat-based timing abilities.


What according to you are the most pressing and fundamental questions in timing research?

I’m clearly biased by my interest in music cognition, but I think that that understanding how the auditory and motor system interact in rhythm perception (i.e., in pure perception, with no overt movement) is a fundamental issue, and one that also has clinical significance for helping individuals with motor disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.


What current topics/techniques or new advances in timing research are you most excited about?

Cross-species research aimed at developing an animal model for beat perception. An animal would allow us measure and manipulate the neural circuits involved in beat perception in fine-grained detail.


What advice do you have for students and postdoctoral researchers interesting in investigating the brain’s code for time?

Develop your questions and hypotheses by triangulating between a few distinct areas of research, e.g., behavioral research on humans, neurobiological studies of non-human animals, and cross-species / evolutionary studies of rhythm and timing.

TRF1 Organizer Q&A – Anne Giersch

Anne Giersch studied medicine and specialized in psychiatry before doing a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience, with a training in Psychophysics and Experimental Psychology in the field of visual grouping. After a post-doctoral stay in Germany, she was hired by the French Medical Research Institute (INSERM) as a full time researcher. She directs a team in Strasbourg in France (INSERM U1114) recognized for its expertise in the exploration of cognitive disorders in schizophrenia. Anne Giersch has worked on cognition, psychopharmacology and schizophrenia for several years, with 70 papers in international journals. She has developed a specific focus on time issues, to uncover the mechanisms of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia and their relationship with neurobiological disorders and clinical symptoms. She claims that the thought fragmentation described in patients may reveal critical mechanisms of disorders affecting the sense of self in patients, but also critical temporal dynamics of our unconscious and conscious mental activity.  


How can we determine the brain’s code for time?

And how do we go from the brain code to the experience of time? Duration? Order? Asynchrony? Thing?


What aspect of timing does your lab investigate, and what do you consider to be the most pressing and fundamental questions in timing research?

My lab is investigating the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Those patients have been described as suffering from a disruption of the sense of time continuity, which we can only imagine to be a frightful, unspeakable, experience. The question of the sense of time continuity is so old it might not be considered as a pressing question. However, if its disruption explains some of the terror experienced by the patients; if it leads them to stop from feeling as one unique continuous being over time, then it becomes an emergency. But still one question among other pressing questions.


As the Organizers, what are your hopes and expectations for the 1st Timing Research Forum Conference?

The conference brings together researchers coming to timing from different perspectives. This has always been fruitful in research, and my hope for this conference and the following ones is that this timing research will remain open, or even open up more to different approaches and backgrounds, attracting researchers from different fields in a flexible way.


What current topics/techniques or new advances in timing research are you most excited about?

I came to timing only after studying psychiatry, and then visual organization under the effect of drugs or pathology. I am now totally absorbed in timing research. I see the whole topic as an ideal way to understand what consciousness is and where our conscious experience comes from, both its content and its container, or structure.


What advice do you have for students and postdoctoral researchers interesting in investigating the brain’s code for time?

I would say come! Work and read. As much as you can, in your field and outside your field. Philosophy, neuroimaging, psychology, molecular biology, beyond if you can. And don’t forget to stop, think, and let your mind wander.

Jenny Coull: TRF1 Organizer Q&A


Jenny Coull is a CNRS Senior Research Fellow and has been at Aix-Marseille University in France for 15 years. Prior to that she spent 7 years in London at the Functional Imaging Laboratory of UCL.  She conducts functional imaging, psychopharmacological and developmental investigations of timing and temporal attention. Her lab website is –


How can we determine the brain’s code for time?



What aspect of timing does your lab investigate, and what do you consider to be the most pressing and fundamental questions in timing research?

My research is focused on duration – how we measure current time, and how we can use it to predict future time. I primarily use fMRI but have recently been collaborating on some developmental research, which I’m very excited about.  I like how such different methodologies can be mutually informative.

I think the most fundamental question for timing research is how we represent such a slippery concept in our brains. Time is relative so it can’t possibly exist in a single location of the brain and it must depend, to a certain extent, on memory. Time is intangible so it must need some kind of scaffolding upon which to support itself – a motor representation of time, a spatial representation of time…?


As the Organizers, what are your hopes and expectations for 1st Timing Research Forum Conference?

Although the psychological study of time has been around for decades, the neuroscientific investigation of time is relatively recent. Of course, this is largely because of amazing technical progress in the past 25 years or so. Because there is no clinical disorder whose symptoms are characterised by temporal dysfunction, the neuroscientific study of time wasn’t really possible until such technological advances had been made. So my big hope for the 1st TRF conference is that psychologists and neuroscientists get together to learn from, and inspire, one another.


What current topics/techniques or new advances in timing research are you most excited about?

The therapeutic possibilities of temporally structuring a patient’s experience to help them overcome the clinical symptoms of their disorder.  For example, the incredible effects of rhythmic auditory stimulation on the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Or  finding a way to help schizophrenic patients untangle the temporal order of their experience, which might go some way to temper some of the positive symptoms of the disorder (hallucinations and delusions).


What advice do you have for students and postdoctoral researchers interesting in investigating the brain’s code for time?

The neuroscientific investigation of time is a young field with enormous scope for new lines of inquiry. So it’s critical to keep up to date with the overwhelming number of new papers coming out every month (and to keep their supervisors up to date at the same time!!). I would also encourage young neuroscientists to learn from the past and explore the classic psychology literature from the ’50s and ’60s (and before).

Two post-doc positions at the Time Perception lab – SISSA

2 post-doc positions are available to work with Domenica Bueti on a
European Research Council funded project (“How the Human Brain Masters
Time – BiT”) at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA)
of Trieste (Italy).

By using neurostimulation (TMS, tDCS), neuroimaging (fMRI at 7T, and
EEG) techniques and the simultaneous combination of TMS and EEG, the
project aims to understand the neural mechanisms and the cognitive
architecture subserving human abilities to perceive, represent, and
manipulate information about time.

The candidates must have a PhD (or equivalent) in neuroscience or a
related field, should have expertise in either neurostimulation (TMS
and/or tDCS) or neuroimaging techniques (fMRI and/or EGG), have
competence in programming (Matlab, Python) and interest in the
research topic.  The successful candidate is expected to work within
the general framework of the project, but also to actively contribute
with his/her own ideas.

The starting date for these positions is flexible. Initially for two
years, the positions can be extended up to two more years. Salary
depends on experience and is based on SISSA regulations
(~€25.000-30.000/annum, net).

To apply, please send to Domenica Bueti ( in a
single pdf file, a CV, the contact information of two referees, a
brief statement describing your personal qualifications and future
research interests.

Please note that Domenica will be at the 1st Conference of the “Timing
Research Forum” in Strasburg this year (23-25th October) in case you
wish to talk to her in person about the advertised positions.

Timing Research Forum has partnered with the Open Science Foundation (OSF) to support the 1st Timing Research Forum

Dear all,

We are pleased to share that the Timing Research Forum has partnered with the Open Science Foundation (OSF) to support the 1st Timing Research Forum.

OSF provides an open-access platform for all conference attendees to upload their posters/talks, as well as view, download and comment on other attendees’ presentations –

Attendees will need to create an OSF account in order to upload your posters/slides. You will be prompted to create an account upon submitting to the meeting page, so there’s no need to make an account ahead of time.

We would like to encourage all conference participants to upload their presentations and join TRF in supporting the open science movement 🙂

With best wishes,

Sundeep & Argie