Event-related brain potentials to sound omissions differ in musicians and non-musicians

Neurosci Lett. 2001 Jul 27;308(1):33-6. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(01)01977-2.


The mismatch negativity (MMN) component of the auditory event-related brain potential reflects the automatic detection of sound change. MMN to occasionally omitted sounds in a tone series can be used to investigate the time course of temporal integration in the acoustic system. We used MMN to study differences in temporal integration in musicians and non-musicians. In experiment 1, occasionally omitted 'sounds' in an otherwise regular tone series evoked a reliable MMN at interstimulus intervals (SOAs) of 100, 120, 180 and 220 ms in musicians. In non-musicians, MMN was smaller/absent in the 180 and 220 ms SOAs, respectively. In experiment 2, deviance of a tone was induced by presenting tones at a shorter SOA (100 or 130 ms) compared to the standard stimulus (150 ms). Musicians showed a reliable MMN for both deviant SOAs whereas non-musicians showed an MMN only for tones presented 50 ms prior to a standard tone (SOA 100 ms). These results indicate that the temporal window of integration seems to be longer and more precise in musicians compared to musical laypersons and that long-term training is reflected in changes in neural activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Audiometry
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Time Factors