An intriguing question in cognitive neuroscience is whether alpha oscillations shape how the brain transforms the continuous sensory inputs into distinct percepts. According to the alpha temporal resolution hypothesis, sensory signals arriving within a single alpha cycle are integrated, whereas those in separate cycles are segregated. Consequently, shorter alpha cycles should be associated with smaller temporal binding windows and higher temporal resolution. However, the evidence supporting this hypothesis is contentious, and the neural mechanisms remain unclear. In this review, we first elucidate the alpha temporal resolution hypothesis and the neural circuitries that generate alpha oscillations. We then critically evaluate study designs, experimental paradigms, psychophysics, and neurophysiological analyses that have been employed to investigate the role of alpha frequency in temporal binding. Through the lens of this methodological framework, we then review evidence from between-subject, within-subject, and causal perturbation studies. Our review highlights the inherent interpretational ambiguities posed by previous study designs and experimental paradigms and the extensive variability in analysis choices across studies. We also suggest best practice recommendations that may help to guide future research. To establish a mechanistic role of alpha frequency in temporal parsing, future research is needed that demonstrates its causal effects on the temporal binding window with consistent, experimenter-independent methods.

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