Event-related potentials associated with sound discrimination versus novelty detection in children


  • We thank Dr. I. Winkler for his advice on the theoretical framework of the auditory ERPs and Mr. Arkilla for pilot data collection.

Address reprint requests to: R. Čeponienė, M.D., Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, Center for Research in Language 0113, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093-0113, USA. E-mail: rceponiene@crl.ucsd.edu.


In children, deviant sounds in an oddball paradigm elicit a mismatch negativity (MMN) indexing discrimination of sound change and late difference negativity (LDN) with unknown functional significance. Salient sounds elicit an ERP index if orienting, P3a, and a late negative component, Nc. We compared children's responses elicited by moderate sound changes and novel sounds to examine the relationships between MMN and LDN, and LDN and Nc. Two components of the Nc, the Nc1 and Nc2, were identified. The scalp topography of LDN differed from those of the MMN and Nc1. Children's early P3a appeared mature but late P3a lacked frontal predominance. The findings suggested that LDN is not linked with either the sensory or attentional processing. It might reflect cognitive, albeit preattentive, processing of sound change. The Nc1 appears to reflect cognitive attentive processing of salient stimuli and the Nc2 might reflect reorienting after distraction.