The influence of stimulus deviance and novelty on the P300 and Novelty P3


Address requests for reprints to: Emanuel Donchin, Department of Psychology, University of South Florida, 4202 Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620-7200, USA. E-mail:


This study examined the relationship between ERP components elicited by deviant stimuli by disentangling the P300 and Novelty P3 components, using spatiotemporal principal components analysis and a dense electrode array. The three-tone paradigm was used and the pitch attributes of the tones were systematically manipulated so as to map the amplitude of the ERP components on the stimulus context. A comparison was made between the components elicited by events in the three-stimulus, classical oddball, and novelty oddball paradigms. Responses to deviant stimuli consisted of independent and dissociable ERP components in the 400–600-ms time range: A parietal component (P300) that was larger for targets than rare nontargets and was affected by the difficulty of discrimination, a fronto-central component (Novelty P3) that was larger for novel tones and for rare nontargets in the difficult discrimination condition, and an additional anterior negative component responded similarly to all types of deviant stimuli.