The tempos of performance

Nir Shalev, Anna Katharina R. Bauer, Anna C. Nobre

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Human performance fluctuates over time. Rather than random, the complex time course of variation reflects, among other factors, influences from regular periodic processes operating at multiple time scales. In this review, we consider evidence for how our performance ebbs and flows over fractions of seconds as we engage with sensory objects, over minutes as we perform tasks, and over hours according to homeostatic factors. We propose that rhythms of performance at these multiple tempos arise from the interplay among three sources of influence: intrinsic fluctuations in brain activity, periodicity of external stimulation, and the anticipation of the temporal structure of external stimulation by the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-260
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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