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Neurosci Lett. 2001 Jul 27;308(1):33-6.

Event-related brain potentials to sound omissions differ in musicians and non-musicians.

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  • 1Department of Neuropsychology, Otto-von-Guericke University, Postfach 4120, 39016, Magdeburg, Germany.


The mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory event-related brain potential reflects the automatic detection of sound change. MMN to occasionally omitted sounds in a tone series can be used to investigate the time course of temporal integration in the acoustic system. We used MMN to study differences in temporal integration in musicians and non-musicians. In experiment 1, occasionally omitted 'sounds' in an otherwise regular tone series evoked a reliable MMN at interstimulus intervals (SOAs) of 100, 120, 180 and 220 ms in musicians. In non-musicians, MMN was smaller/absent in the 180 and 220 ms SOAs, respectively. In experiment 2, deviance of a tone was induced by presenting tones at a shorter SOA (100 or 130 ms) compared to the standard stimulus (150 ms). Musicians showed a reliable MMN for both deviant SOAs whereas non-musicians showed an MMN only for tones presented 50 ms prior to a standard tone (SOA 100 ms). These results indicate that the temporal window of integration seems to be longer and more precise in musicians compared to musical laypersons and that long-term training is reflected in changes in neural activity.

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