Recovery and refractoriness of auditory evoked fields after gaps in click trains


Dr Alexander Gutschalk, as above.


When clicks are presented in a train at a rate above ∼5 Hz, they evoke a sustained field in human auditory cortex that can be recorded by magnetoencephalography. In this study we evaluated how this sustained field continues when a click train is interrupted by a silent gap. The stimuli were click trains with interclick intervals of either 12 or 24 ms, which produce pitches of 83.3 or 41.7 Hz, respectively. The click trains were 996 ms in duration with a gap of 12, 24, 48, 96, or 192 ms beginning 504 ms post-stimulus onset. The sustained field for click trains with short gaps was similar to the one evoked by a continuous click train. Subtraction of the response evoked by a solitary click train of 504 ms enabled estimation of the sustained field in the interval after the gap. The comparison revealed that the sustained field amplitude after the gap was larger than that at the onset of the initial click train in the interval from 150 to 350 ms after onset, and the difference decreased with gap duration. In contrast, the transient P1m was refractory for gaps up to 48 ms, but had nearly recovered its initial amplitude for gaps of 192 ms. We discuss how these results might relate to the perception, i.e. if an interrupted click train is perceived as one continuous sound with a transient gap or as two successive events.