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Biol Psychol. 2013 Apr;93(1):97-104. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2013.01.015. Epub 2013 Feb 4.

Event-related potential correlates of sound organization: early sensory and late cognitive effects.

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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology, Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary.


We tested whether incoming sounds are processed differently depending on how the preceding sound sequence has been interpreted by the brain. Sequences of a regularly repeating three-tone pattern, the perceived organization of which spontaneously switched back and forth between two alternative interpretations, were delivered to listeners. Occasionally, a regular tone was exchanged for a slightly or moderately lower one (deviants). The electroencephalogram (EEG) was recorded while listeners continuously marked their perception of the sound sequence. We found that for both the regular and the deviant tones, the early exogenous P1 and N1 amplitudes varied together with the perceived sound organization. Percept-dependent effects on the late endogenous N2 and P3a amplitudes were only found for deviant tones. These results suggest that the perceived sound organization affects sound processing both by modulating what information is extracted from incoming sounds as well as by influencing how deviant sound events are evaluated for further processing.

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