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Feature versus gestalt representation of stimuli in the mismatch negativity system of 7- to 9-year-old children

Authors

  • Sophie Molholm,

    1. The Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, Program in Cognitive Neuroscience and Schizophrenia, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, New York, USA
    2. Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA
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  • Hilary Gomes,

    1. Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA
    2. Department of Psychology, City College of the City University of New York, New York, USA
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  • Jacqueline Lobosco,

    1. The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, New York, USA
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  • Diana Deacon,

    1. Department of Psychology, City College of the City University of New York, New York, USA
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  • Walter Ritter

    1. The Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, Program in Cognitive Neuroscience and Schizophrenia, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, New York, USA
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  • This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants DC00223-17 and DC04992-01. We thank T. R. Pivik and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Address reprint requests to: Sophie Molholm, The Cognitive Neurophysiology Laboratory, Program in Cognitive Neuroscience and Schizophrenia, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA. E-mail: molholm@nki.rfmh.org.

Abstract

We examined preattentive auditory change detection in 7- to 9-year-old children. The question of interest was whether the preattentive comparison of stimuli indexed by the scalp-recorded mismatch negativity (MMN) was performed on representations of individual stimulus features or on gestalt representations of their combined attributes. The design of the study, based on a work by D. Deacon, J. Nousak, M. Pilotti, W. Ritter, and C. Yang (Psychophysiology, 1998), was such that both feature and gestalt representations could have been available to the comparator mechanism generating the MMN. The data indicated that for the majority of the children—those that exhibited an inverse relationship between the amplitude of the MMN and the probability of the deviant—the MMN was based on feature-specific information. This study also provides a method to obtain MMNs to deviants in three different features in the time usually required to obtain an MMN to a single acoustic feature.

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