Charles Schroeder

Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging

Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research

Active Sensing, Neuronal Oscillations and Perceptual Selection

Sensory processing is traditionally viewed as a passive process in which biological sensors like photo- and mechanoreceptors transduce physical energy into some form of neural firing code. However, mounting evidence suggests an alternate view. In this view, most sensory processing is active, and largely determined by motor/attentional sampling routines. Due to rhymicity in the motor routine, as well as to its entrainment of ambient rhythms in sensory regions, sensory inflow tends to be rhythmic. Attentional manipulation of rhythms in sensory pathways is then instrumental to perceptual selection. These observations summarize the essentials of an "Active Sensing" perspective, and argue for experimental paradigms in which there is increased emphasis on the study of sensory processes as specific to the dynamic motor/attentional context in which inputs are acquired.



Lakatos P, O’Connell MN, Barczak A, Mills A, Javitt DC, Schroeder CE (2009) The leading sense: supramodal control of neurophysiological context by attention. Neuron 64:419-30


Lakatos P, Karmos G, Mehta Ad, Ulbert I, Schroeder CE (2008) Entrainment of neuronal oscillations as a mechanism of attentional selection. Science 320:110-3