Mismatch Negativity in Event-Related Potentials to Auditory Stimuli as a Function of Varying Interstimulus Interval


  • The authors are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and wish to express their thanks to Risto Näätänen and Walter Ritter for commenting on a preliminary version of the manuscript.


The mismatch negativity, isolated as a component of the event-related brain potential elicited by deviant auditory stimuli, was suggested by Näätänen (1984) as an indirect measure of the inferred neuronal representation of standard stimuli. The purpose of the present study was to determine the duration of the neuronal representation by varying the interstimulus intervals of 1, 6, and 10 seconds within experimental blocks. Mismatch negativities were found to be elicited by deviant stimuli (1500-Hz tones, sequential probability 10%) following standard stimuli (1000-Hz tones) with interstimulus intervals of 1, 6, and 10 s as well. The results suggest a duration of neuronal representation of at least 10 s. The within-block variation of interstimulus interval, the rather low temporal probability of deviants, and their large frequency deviance might explain the present results contradicting earlier findings that suggested a shorter duration of that neuronal representation.