ERPs for infrequent omissions and inclusions of stimulus elements

Authors


  • This study was supported by grants from The Meltzer Foundation and University of Bergen to Helge Nordby and NAVF-RSF to Kenneth Hugdahl.

Address reprint requests to: Helge Nordby, Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, Arstadveien 21, N-5009 Bergen, Norway.

Abstract

A negative event-related potential (ERP) wave called mismatch negativity (MMN) is elicited by an infrequent deviant stimulus in a sequence of frequent standard stimuli. Omission of a stimulus in a sequence of stimuli, however, has been considered to elicit a negativity different from MMN. The present study addressed this issue by examining ERPs for infrequent omissions and inclusions of compound stimuli or their elements. Three kinds of stimuli were presented: a 1000-Hz sine wave tone (Sine), white noise with the 1000-Hz frequency sharply filtered out (Noise), and a composite of the pure tone and the filtered white noise (SiNoise). All stimuli had 50 ms duration and were presented with a regular interstimulus interval of 650 ms. Intensities were 75 dB SPL for the tone and noise stimuli and slightly higher for the composite stimulus. The three kinds of stimuli were presented on separate runs, either as the frequent stimulus or one of two infrequent stimuli, each with 10% probability. Infrequent omission of the large stimulus element (Sine deviant to SiNoise) tended to elicit later MMN than inclusion of the same element (SiNoise deviant to Sine). Omission of the small stimulus element (Noise deviant to SiNoise) elicited a smaller and later MMN than did inclusion of the same element (SiNoise deviant to Noise). These data suggest that MMNs are also elicited by partial stimulus omissions, although they seem to be more sensitive to other kinds of stimulus deviances.

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