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Keywords:

  • Event-related potential;
  • Selective attention;
  • Serial processing;
  • N270;
  • N400;
  • Mismatch;
  • Conflict negativity

Abstract

To clarify the brain mechanism for multifeature stimulus comparison, subjects matched the features of two serial visual stimuli in pairs. Stimulus pairs were of four categories: C−S−, color same, shape same (match); C−S+, color same, shape different (shape mismatch); C+S−, color different, shape same (color mismatch); C+S+, color different, shape different (conjunction mismatches). Subjects matched the stimuli in three different sessions according to different attention tasks: attending to color (Ac), attending to shape (As), or attending to both color and shape (Acs). A negative one-peak brain potential, N270, was elicited in all the mismatch conditions with amplitude enhanced in the task-relevant mismatch. Negative potential with two peaks, N270 and N400, appeared when attending to the conjunction mismatches concurrently. The two serial negativities in response to attended feature conjunctions might reflect the temporal different stages for processing conjunction mismatches or conflicts.