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Brain Topogr. 2014 Jul;27(4):553-64. doi: 10.1007/s10548-013-0326-6. Epub 2013 Oct 25.

The five myths of MMN: redefining how to use MMN in basic and clinical research.

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Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY, 10461, USA,


The goal of this review article is to redefine what the mismatch negativity (MMN) component of event-related potentials reflects in auditory scene analysis, and to provide an overview of how the MMN serves as a valuable tool in Cognitive Neuroscience research. In doing so, some of the old beliefs (five common 'myths') about MMN will be dispelled, such as the notion that MMN is a simple feature discriminator and that attention itself modulates MMN elicitation. A revised description of what MMN truly reflects will be provided, which includes a principal focus onto the highly context-dependent nature of MMN elicitation and new terminology to discuss MMN and attention. This revised framework will help clarify what has been a long line of seemingly contradictory results from studies in which behavioral ability to hear differences between sounds and passive elicitation of MMN have been inconsistent. Understanding what MMN is will also benefit clinical research efforts by providing a new picture of how to design appropriate paradigms suited to various clinical populations.

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