Intrinsic neural timescales: temporal integration and segregation

Annemarie Wolff, Nareg Berberian, Mehrshad Golesorkhi, Javier Gomez-Pilar, Federico Zilio, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


We are continuously bombarded by external inputs of various timescales from the environment. How does the brain process this multitude of timescales? Recent resting state studies show a hierarchy of intrinsic neural timescales (INT) with a shorter duration in unimodal regions (e.g., visual cortex and auditory cortex) and a longer duration in transmodal regions (e.g., default mode network). This unimodal–transmodal hierarchy is present across acquisition modalities [electroencephalogram (EEG)/magnetoencephalogram (MEG) and fMRI] and can be found in different species and during a variety of different task states. Together, this suggests that the hierarchy of INT is central to the temporal integration (combining successive stimuli) and segregation (separating successive stimuli) of external inputs from the environment, leading to temporal segmentation and prediction in perception and cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-173
Number of pages15
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • intrinsic neural timescales
  • predictive coding
  • rest and task states
  • temporal receptive windows
  • temporal segregation
  • transmodal–unimodal hierarchy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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