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Hear Res. 1995 Mar;83(1-2):9-18.

Generation of human auditory steady-state responses (SSRs). II: Addition of responses to individual stimuli.

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Institute of Human Physiology, Rome, Italy.


In order to investigate the generation of the 40 Hz steady-state response (SSR), auditory potentials evoked by clicks were recorded in 16 healthy subjects in two stimulating conditions. Firstly, repetition rates of 7.9 and 40 Hz were used to obtain individual middle latency responses (MLRs) and 40 Hz-SSRs, respectively. In the second condition, eight click trains were presented at a 40 Hz repetition rate and an inter-train interval of 126 ms. We extracted from the whole train response: (1) the response-segment taking place after the last click of the train (last click response, LCR), (2) a modified LCR (mLCR) obtained by clearing the LCR from the amplitude enhancement due to the overlapping of the responses to the clicks preceding the last within the stimulus train. In comparison to MLRs, the most relevant feature of the evoked activity following the last click of the train (LCRs, mLCRs) was the appearance in the 50-110 ms latency range of one (in 11 subjects) or two (in 2 subjects) additional positive-negative deflections having the same periodicity as that of MLR waves. The grand average (GA) of the 40 Hz-SSRs was compared with three predictions synthesized by superimposing: (1) the GA of MLRs, (2) the GA of LCRs, (3) the GA of mLCRs. Both the MLR and mLCR predictions reproduced the recorded signal in amplitude while the LCR prediction amplitude resulted almost twice that of the 40 Hz-SSR. With regard to the phase, the MLR, LCR and mLCR closely predicted the recorded signal. Our findings confirm the effectiveness of the linear addition mechanism in the generation of the 40 Hz-SSR. However the responses to individual stimuli within the 40 Hz-SSR differ from MLRs because of additional periodic activity. These results suggest that phenomena related to the resonant frequency of the activated system may play a role in the mechanisms which interact to generate the 40 Hz-SSR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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