Attention modulates auditory pattern memory as indexed by event-related brain potentials

Authors

  • CLAUDE ALAIN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Rotman Research Institute. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care and Department of Psychology. University of Toronto, Canada
    2. Department of Neurology and Center for Neuroscience, University of California at Davis, and Northern California System of Clinics. Martinez. CA. USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • DAVID L. WOODS

    1. Department of Neurology and Center for Neuroscience, University of California at Davis, and Northern California System of Clinics. Martinez. CA. USA
    Search for more papers by this author

  • This research was supported by the Fonds de la Recherche en Sante du Quebec, the NIDCD, the NINDS, and the V.A. Research Service.

  • We gratefully thank Lori J. Bernstein. Kerth H. Ogawa. Marie-Helene Giard. Shlomo Bentin, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Claude Alain, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, 3560 Bathurst Street, North York. Ontario M6A 2E1. Canada. E-mail: claude@psych.utoronto.ca.

Abstract

The role of selective attention on auditory pattern processing was investigated using the mismatch negativity, an event-related brain potential component associated with sensory memory. Participants responded to changes in an alternating tone pattern in a designated ear while a similar auditory pattern was presented in the opposite ear. Participants were also presented with the same sequences while reading a book (no response required). In all conditions, changes in the pattern elicited a mismatch negativity (MMN) that peaked at 160–220 ms poststimulus. MMN amplitude varied with attention: the amplitude was higher in response to deviant stimuli presented in the attended ear than to the deviant stimuli presented in the unattended ear or during reading. The results show that selective attention modulates auditory pattern memory.

Ancillary