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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1993 Jul;19(4):909-21.

Memory prerequisites of mismatch negativity in the auditory event-related potential (ERP).

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Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211.


The mismatch negativity (MMN) is a component of the auditory event-related brain potential that occurs in response to infrequent changes in the physical properties of homogeneous series of sounds, even when subjects are instructed to ignore the auditory channel of stimulation. It has been proposed (e.g., Näätänen, 1990) that the MMN is generated by an automatic process in which a difference between the deviant sound and the previous, standard sound is detected by the brain. However, it is unclear how the form of memory involved is related to the rest of the memory system. The present study indicates that, for an MMN to be elicited in response to a change in tone frequency, the representation of the standard tone must be both (a) well-established as a standard in memory, and (b) in a currently active state. The relation between physiological and psychological aspects of memory representation is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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