Abstract

Saarinen, J., Paavilainen, P., Schröger, E., Tervaniemi, M., & Näätänen, R. (1992). Representation of abstract attributes of auditory stimuli in the human brain. Neuroreport, 3(12), 1149-1151.

Representation of abstract attributes of auditory stimuli in the human brain

Representations of abstract attributes of auditory stimuli in the human brain were demonstrated using the mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential component elicited by a change in a repetitive sound. Stimuli were pairs of sinusoidal tones. There were two types of tone pairs in each block, standard (p = 85%) and deviant pairs (p = 15%), delivered in a random order. Standard and deviant tone pairs differed only in the direction of within-pair frequency change. In addition, the frequency levels of both the standard and deviant pairs varied randomly within a wide range in a block; thus the standard pairs shared the direction of the within-pair frequency change but not the absolute frequency level. Correspondingly, the deviant pairs only shared the opposite direction of the within-pair change. Nevertheless, the deviant tone pairs elicited MMN, implying that even the direction of the within-pair frequency change of the standard stimuli, and not just their absolute frequencies, developed a neural representation.



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