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).

TRF Newsletter – September 2017

Dear all,
We are pleased to share the September 2017 Newsletter of the Timing Research Forum. We have a number of exciting and important updates and announcements about the upcoming TRF Conference in Strasbourg, which is just a month away!
1. TRF Conference
– Registration
– Conference Program
– Business Meeting
– Accommodation
– TRF1 Speakers Q&A
– Poster instructions
– Open content (optional)
– Call for Social Media Outreach
– Call for Photographers
2. TRF Membership
3. TRF Blogs
4. TRF Mailing List
5. Blog your Paper
6. Blog your Conference
7. Contribute to TRF
8. Feedback for TRF
Dates: October 23-25, 2017
Contact: Anne Giersch –
If you are planning to attend the TRF Conference, and haven’t registered yet, we would encourage you to do so at the earliest!
See the following link to complete your registration –
In case you no longer plan to attend the conference, can you let us know ASAP (email Anne) so we can make arrangements accordingly.
We’ve updated the details and schedule for all symposia, oral sessions as well as the poster blitz session on the website. We encourage all attendees to use this to plan their conference itineraries in advance –
We will organize a TRF Business Meeting from 9-10AM on Oct. 25 that is open to all TRF members. We have several announcements to make during the meeting, including the exciting location of the 2nd TRF Conference in 2018!
We would like to remind everyone to book their accommodation for Strasbourg if you haven’t already, as hotels are being booked out quickly for the conference dates. If you would like to share rooms/airbnb with other attendees, please let us know at trf@timingforum.orgso we can pair you according to your preferences.
TRF is pleased to launch a new initiative – Speakers Q&A, where select Speakers share their thoughts on the current state-of-the-art in timing research and their presentations during the TRF Conference.
The first Speaker Q&A column features Dean Buonomano, who is organizing a symposium, ‘Timing, Neural Dynamics, and Temporal Scaling’ –
The second Speaker Q&A column features Warren Meck, one of the Keynote Speakers –
We’ve many more columns planned in the weeks leading up to the TRF conference, and we hope that enjoy reading these Q&A columns.
Participants who have been selected to present their work on a poster can find the relevant instructions here –
TRF supports open science and would like to encourage all participants to share their work (slides/posters etc.) with all conference attendees. It is completely optional and we hope that you would join us in openly celebrating the science that is presented at the TRF Conference.
Please share your final slides/posters in advance of the conference by emailing us at /
TRF has a very strong presence on a variety of social networks including ResearchGate, Twitter and Facebook.
We encourage all conference attendees to support our social media outreach by tweeting before/during the conference by tagging @timingforum and using the hashtag #TRF1. We hope this will inform the wider scientific community who will not be at the TRF conference about the science and the conference.
We would like to invite volunteers who are amateur/expert photographers and are happy to wield their DSLRs/smart phone cameras to capture a variety of moments during the conference. Please email us at to register your interest. All photos will be made available in a shared folder for all conference attendees to view and download.
To become a member of TRF and join a community of ~ 600 timing researchers, please fill in the form here –
ResearchGate: 313 followers (+15.5%)
Twitter: 321 followers (+25.9%)
Facebook: 377 followers (+25.7%)
We have a number of new blog articles reviewing recent papers on timing by a number of promising early career researchers.
Please read, share, comment and discuss!
Bowen Fung, University of Melbourne:
1) Dopamine encodes retrospective temporal information
2) The P3 and the subjective experience of time
3) Time perception in Schizophrenia
Bronson Harry, MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney:
1) Perceptual reorganisation in deaf participants can high level auditory cortex become selective for visual timing
Mukesh Makwana, Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad:
1) Intended outcome appears longer in time
2) Olfactory visual sensory integration twists time perception
3) What language you speak shapes your subjective time
Molly Henry, University of Western Ontario:
1) Review of a number of rhythm and timing conference in the summer of 2017
2) Implicit variations of temporal predictability shaping the neural oscillatory and behavioral response
3) Sequence learning modulates neural responses and oscillatory coupling in human and monkey auditory cortex
If you would also like to contribute as a TRF blogger, please get in touch:
Everyone is invited to share any items related to timing related positions, grants, news, or anything that concerns timing research with the TRF community via our mailing list.
Make sure to use plain text when sending these messages (i.e. no attachments or fancy formatting is allowed). Please keep in mind that the mailing list is monitored, and only the the items approved by the mailing list moderators will be circulated to our community. Looking forward to your emails!
Please email your items directly to
We invite TRF members to submit short summaries of their recently published articles on timing. Articles should be no longer than 500 words and not include more than one representative figure.
Please submit your entries after your paper is published by emailing us at Submissions are open anytime and will be featured on the TRF blog page –
We invite TRF members to blog about their experience of a timing conference/meeting/workshop that you have recently attended. Submissions can highlight prominent talks/papers presented, new methods, trends and your personal views about the conference. Pictures may also be included.
Please submit your articles (no longer than 1000 words) to within two months from the date of the conference you intend to highlight.
TRF aims to host pertinent timing related resources, so that the TRF website acts as the definitive platform for everything related to timing research. The current resources listed on the TRF website include: (1) all members’ publications, (2) timing related special issues, (3) books on timing, (4) list of meetings focused on timing, (5) list of timing related societies/groups, (6) as well as code and mentoring resources.
TRF ecnourages open science and supports sharing of relevant information and knowledge between its members, with the aim to advance the field of timing research. We therefore invite you all to contribute to these resources. Please email us ( your suggestions for new resources for the timing community.
As an open academic society, we hope that you participate freely and support the TRF community in achieving its mission. As we like to repeatedly emphasize, TRF’s aim is to serve all timing researchers through open exchange of ideas, information and resources to advance the timing research community. We are open to receiving your suggestions or ideas that will help TRF grow and continue to deliver on its mission. We look forward to your feedback!
With best wishes,
Sundeep Teki
University of Oxford
Argiro Vatakis
Cognitive Systems Research Institute

Warren Meck: TRF1 Speaker Q&A


Warren Meck obtained a B.A. degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego, a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Brown University, and has been a professor at Brown University, Columbia University, and now Duke University.

His publications are accessible at Google Scholar and can be downloaded at ResearchGate, which also hosts preprints and descriptions of current research projects.


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

It will take well-designed psychophysical studies in combination with neuroimaging, optogenetic stimulation, and electrophysiological recording techniques (triangulation) to break the code. Evaluating subjects with selective lesions and/or genetic backgrounds will continue to be important as well.


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

My talk will focus on the pervasiveness of timing abilities across animal species and the idea that a common timing mechanism is used that co-evolved with motor systems, i.e., to move is to time.


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


a) To map out the “temporal connectome” for time, whereby central timing mechanisms can monitor and synchronize satellite timing mechanisms.

b) To better understand the relationship between intelligence/working memory capacity and timing accuracy/precision.


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

Optogenetics, i.e., selective stimulation of specific types of neurons and/or pathways thought to be involved in controlling the speed of the “internal clock” as well as its mode of operation (e.g., run, pause, and reset).


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

I would first recommend that students keep in mind the inspiration provided by Robert Rousseau (Laval University) in his forward to the book Functional and Neural Mechanisms of Interval Timing (CRC Press, 2003).

“For more than a century, time has been an object of study in experimental psychology. In his Experimental Psychology, Titchener (1905) wrote, “A student who knows his time sense … has a good idea of what experimental psychology has been and of what it has come to be.” At the dawn of the 21st century, I believe that Titchener’s judgment about the status of timing and time perception in psychology is still appropriate. As was the case a century ago, knowledge of the current research on timing gives a sense of what cognition, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience have come to be and will become.”

I would also advise students to learn as much as they can about the different levels of analysis that can be applied in the study of timing and time perception in humans and other animals. For me, this would involve comparative neuroanatomy, electrophysiology, and computational modeling.

Dean Buonomano: TRF1 Speaker Q&A

Dean Buonomano is Professor at the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology, University of California Los Angeles. At the 1st TRF Conference, he is the Organizer of a symposium on ‘Timing, Neural Dynamics, and Temporal Scaling‘. He regularly tweets about time at @deanbuono.


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

I don’t think there will be a single code for time any more than there is a single code for space in the brain. I think there be will be a number of ways the brain represents and tracks time, depending on the time scale and task at hand. Timing is simply to integral to the brain’s fundamental computations to rely on a single strategy. We have increasingly compelling evidence that in some cases temporal information is encoded in dynamically changing neural activity patterns (population clocks) or ramping of firing rates. The challenge will be to understand the mechanisms by which these codes are generated, and the domain in which different coding and timing strategies are relevant (a problem related to the Taxonomy of Time, see #3 below).


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

A striking ability we have at the both the sensory and motor level is to recognize and generate temporal patterns at different speeds—such as the tempo of music or the speed of speech. Along with Hugo Merchant and Mehrdad Jazayeri my talk will focus on the problem of temporal scaling: the ability to produce simple or complex temporal motor patterns at different speeds.


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

I think the most pressing question in the timing field may be defining what exactly we mean by the timing field. Specifically, there is an increasing recognition that we need a Taxonomy of Time. A taxonomy of memory (e.g., Procedural x Declarative) was in many ways one of the most important advances in the study of learning and memory in the 20th century. The timing field is severely hampered by our inability to define and pinpoint the different forms, and time scales, of timing and temporal processing.


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

To date most studies have primarily focused on the activity or contribution of a given brain area in a timing task. But the brain is one big “which came first the chicken or the egg” problem when it comes to cause and effect. So I’m excited about improvements in our ability to record from hundreds of neurons in multiple different brain areas simultaneously. I think focusing on the transformations that happen between areas and the differences in representations will provide a powerful tool to understand timing and temporal processing.


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

Read, and try to seek out opportunities to write reviews and perspectives.

Abstract deadline for 1st TRF Conference extended to May 5, 2017

The abstract deadline for the 1st Conference of the Timing Research Forum (TRF1: has been extended to May 5, 2017. We look forward to receiving your abstracts for symposia, talks and posters.
Please submit your abstracts via the conference website –
Early-bird registration is now open –
For any queries, please contact Anne Giersch at:
We look forward to seeing you in Strasbourg!

TRF Associate Positions

Call for TRF Associate Members

TRF is a community by us for us. It’s success, therefore, is dependent on the work we do as a community to maintain, promote, and advance it. We are ready, therefore, to open up to the community to more people for their involvement, help, and contribution. This is the first call for actively engaging in TRF’s activities.

We are opening up Associate Member positions meant for junior timing researchers like graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. The details of the open positions are:

TRF Social Media & News Manager

TRF has built a strong social media presence (on Facebook and Twitter) and would like to provide it’s members with latest information and news related to timing research. The position, therefore, will require the candidate to keep track of timing related news including:

  1. a) publication of new papers, journal special issues, and books
  2. b) timing events, conferences, workshops etc.
  3. c) grants and funding opportunities
  4. d) job openings at the doctoral, postdoctoral, and faculty level.

This position requires daily commitment, experience with social media, and well-rounded interest and interaction with timing-related information.

TRF Mailing list Moderator: 

TRF aims to establish and maintain a highly interactive community. This interaction will partially be accomplished through a mailing list. This mailing list will be for members only and will aim to:

  1. a) Keep TRF members informed of news, events etc. and
  2. b) Open discussions between members for various timing related issues.

It is pertinent, therefore, to maintain a mailing list that is free from junk or other spam information. The Moderator will have to regularly approve or reject incoming messages. This position requires daily commitment and some experience with Majordomo is preferred but not required.

TRF Bloggers:

TRF would like to appoint interested graduate students/postdoctoral researchers to write short summaries of latest papers in timing research for the official website. You can choose any paper of your choice and be required to write about at least one paper per month.

How to submit your application

If you are interested in any of the above openings, please email us at with subject line of the position you wish to apply for as well as a copy of your CV by September 15, 2016.

A Citation-Based Analysis and Review of Significant Papers on Timing and Time Perception

We are pleased to share an article recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience [download] that led to the creation of TRF by Sundeep Teki and Argiro Vatakis. The abstract is reproduced below –

Time is an important dimension of brain function, but little is yet known about the underlying cognitive principles and neurobiological mechanisms. The field of timing and time perception has witnessed tremendous growth and multidisciplinary interest in the recent years with the advent of modern neuroimaging and neurophysiological approaches. In this article, I used a data mining approach to analyze the timing literature published by a select group of researchers (n = 202) during the period 2000–2015 and highlight important reviews as well as empirical articles that meet the criterion of a minimum of 100 citations. The qualifying articles (n = 150) are listed in a table along with key details such as number of citations, names of authors, year and journal of publication as well as a short summary of the findings of each study. The results of such a data-driven approach to literature review not only serve as a useful resource to any researcher interested in timing, but also provides a means to evaluate key papers that have significantly influenced the field and summarize recent progress and popular research trends in the field. Additionally, such analyses provides food for thought about future scientific directions and raises important questions about improving organizational structures to boost open science and progress in the field. I discuss exciting avenues for future research that have the potential to significantly advance our understanding of the neurobiology of timing, and propose the establishment of a new society, the Timing Research Forum, to promote open science and collaborative work within the highly diverse and multidisciplinary community of researchers in the field of timing and time perception.

The list of the top 150 most cited articles is available as a JPG.



Call for Symposia: The Neurosciences and Music VI, in Boston USA, 15 – 18 June 2017

Submission deadline: October 15, 2016

The “Neuromusic” Community (researchers, clinicians, therapists, educators and musicians) is invited to submit proposals for the Symposia. These should be organized around a specific topic related to the conference theme of “Music, Sound and Health” with special emphasis on development.

Subthemes may include for example: “Music and Language Skills”, “Music and Motor Skills”, “Music and Memory”, “Auditory Processing”, “Auditory-Motor Interactions”, “Brain Plasticity”, “Music Intervention Programmes”, “Music Technology”, “Embodied Learning”, “Musical Disorders and Musicians Disorders”, “Music Education”, “Cross-Cultural Studies”.

Proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee and selected on the basis of merit, interest to the research community and relevance to the overall theme of the conference. The Scientific Committee may ask to combine proposals if there is significant overlap.

Proposals should be sent by e-mail to: by 15 October, 2016.

Each scientist can only be included in one symposium, either as proposer or a participant. Senior post doctoral fellows, but not PhD students, may be included as speakers in symposia. Each Symposium may involve 3 to 4 speakers (maximum – including the chair) who have made significant research contributions to their field, 15 minutes per presentation, and should be organized to allow 20 minutes discussion time per symposium.
Proposals should include:

a. Title and aim of the Symposium in relation to the conference theme* (max. 200 words each)
b. Abstracts of each proposed talk (max. 50 words each)
c. Confirmation of each speaker’s availability.

Speaker benefits
: the registration fee will be waived for speakers and chairmen, and a contribution towards accommodation and travel expenses will be determined after acceptance of the proposal.
Deadlines for poster-abstracts will be 15 January 15, 2017. Poster presentations will be a prominent part of the meeting. More details will be provided in the fall.