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Event-related potentials recorded from the scalp and nasopharynx. I. N1 and P2.


Event-related potentials were recorded from the scalp and nasopharynx during a signal-detection task. These responses were evaluated with respect to the effects of interstimulus interval, intensity, frequency, attention and modality. Our results indicate the existence of at least 4 distinct processes occurring in the 75-150 msec latency range following auditory stimuli. The first process is indexed in the vertex-N1b/temporal-N1a component. This component does not reverse in polarity below the sylvian fissure and is not seen in nasopharyngeal recordings. The location of its generator is not known. Probably there are two or more sources active at this latency. The second process finds reflection in the N1c/PgP120 component. This component is recorded with maximum amplitude on the side contralateral to the ear of delivery. A source in the lateral surface of the temporal lobe is a likely generator. The third process corresponds to Wolpaw and Penry's (1975) Ta positivity. How much of this represents the underside of a vertically oriented dipole and how much a surface positivity is unknown. Finally, during attention, a lateralized processing negativity seems to overlap these components at the scalp, but not at the nasopharynx. The auditory vertex N1 peak is quite distinct from the visual N1 which is more posteriorly recorded on the scalp and which is associated with a definite nasopharyngeal positive wave. The P2 peak is quite similar across auditory and visual modalities. In both modalities it is maximally recorded from the vertex and has no nasopharyngeal concomitant.

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