Preattentive extraction of abstract feature conjunctions from auditory stimulation as reflected by the mismatch negativity (MMN)

Psychophysiology. 2001 Mar;38(2):359-65.


Brain mechanisms extracting invariant information from varying auditory inputs were studied using the mismatch-negativity (MMN) brain response. We wished to determine whether the preattentive sound-analysis mechanisms, reflected by MMN, are capable of extracting invariant relationships based on abstract conjunctions between two sound features. The standard stimuli varied over a large range in frequency and intensity dimensions following the rule that the higher the frequency, the louder the intensity. The occasional deviant stimuli violated this frequency-intensity relationship and elicited an MMN. The results demonstrate that preattentive processing of auditory stimuli extends to unexpectedly complex relationships between the stimulus features.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male