Putative rhythms in attentional switching can be explained by aperiodic temporal structure

Geoffrey Brookshire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Downloads (Pure)


The neural and perceptual effects of attention were traditionally assumed to be sustained over time, but recent work suggests that covert attention rhythmically switches between objects at 3-8 Hz. Here I use simulations to demonstrate that the analysis approaches commonly used to test for rhythmic oscillations generate false positives in the presence of aperiodic temporal structure. I then propose two alternative analyses that are better able to discriminate between periodic and aperiodic structure in time series. Finally, I apply these alternative analyses to published datasets and find no evidence for behavioural rhythms in attentional switching after accounting for aperiodic temporal structure. The techniques presented here will help clarify the periodic and aperiodic dynamics of perception and of cognition more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1280-1291
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Issue number9
Early online date9 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Putative rhythms in attentional switching can be explained by aperiodic temporal structure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this