Target-to-target interval versus probability effects on P300 in one- and two-tone tasks


Address reprint requests to: Rodney J. Croft, Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn 3122, Australia. E-mail:


The P3(00) is an electrophysiological index of neural processing that varies with such stimulus parameters as interstimulus interval (ISI) and target probability, with a common view being that it reflects an endogenous form of memory update. Building on previous research, we argue that relations between P3 amplitude and both ISI and probability may be attributable to the target-to-target interval (TTI). Employing between-subject (Experiment 1; N=24) and within-subject (Experiment 2; N=10) designs, the present paper addresses this by testing subjects on a standard two-tone auditory oddball task as well as a one-tone task. In both studies, P3 amplitude increased and latency decreased linearly with TTI, and these relations were relatively unaffected by ISI or probability. This suggests that ISI and probability per se do not independently affect P3 amplitude, and that TTI offers a strong explanation of the reported relations between P3 amplitude and both ISI and probability.