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Psychophysiology. 2010 Jul 1;47(4):697-705. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2009.00970.x. Epub 2010 Feb 22.

Measurement of mismatch negativity in individuals: a study using single-trial analysis.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK OX1 3UD.


Mismatch negativity (MMN) is measured by subtracting the averaged response to a set of standard stimuli from the averaged response to rarer deviant stimuli, and taking the amplitude of this difference wave in a given time window. This method is problematic when used to evaluate individuals, because there is no estimate of variance. We describe a new approach, in which independent components with high trial-by-trial variance are first removed. Next, each deviant response has the preceding standard response subtracted, giving a set of single trial difference waves. We illustrate this approach in analysis of MMN to brief tones in 17 adults. The best criterion for MMN combined t-test with an index of inter-trial coherence, giving significant MMN in 14 (82%) of individuals. Single-trial methods can indicate which people show MMN. However, in some clinically normal individuals there was no MMN, despite good behavioral discrimination of stimuli.

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