Uncertainty parameters in temporal expectancy

In everyday life, the human brain is confronted with information that implies certainty but that is in fact probabilistic by nature. For example, a train scheduled to arrive at a remote station at 12:15 might be canceled, and even if it reaches the station, it may arrive too early or too late. At a shorter timescale, in sports, a boxer's jab illustrates the point: is the puch coming at all? And if it is coming, when will it hit? In the domain of music, performances featuring improvisation and also Hayden's Surprise Symphony (H. 1/94) serve as classic examples of the manipulation of whether an event will occur and when it will occur in time. In this project, we investigate how humans navigate situations defined by several such sources of uncertainty. Using mathematical modeling, we describe how the brain represents complex statistics based on auditory and visual sensory input to drive its actions. In light of the high degree of temporal volatility that humans encounter in e.g. playing and listening to music, we focus on the brain's capability to update its models of the outside world – an adaptation likely influenced by the economic deployment of neural resources. We expect these processes to be closely related to other aspects of cognition such as value-guided choice and facets of aesthetic appreciation.