Differential contribution of frontal and temporal cortices to auditory change detection: fMRI and ERP results

Neuroimage. 2002 Jan;15(1):167-74. doi: 10.1006/nimg.2001.0970.


The present study addresses the functional role of the temporal and frontal lobes in auditory change detection. Prior event-related potential (ERP) research suggested that the mismatch negativity (MMN) reflects the involvement of a temporofrontal network subserving auditory change detection processes and the initiation of an involuntary attention switch. In the present study participants were presented with repetitive spectrally rich sounds. Infrequent changes of either small (10% change), medium (30% change), or large (100% change) magnitude were embedded in the stimulus train. ERPs and fMRI measures were obtained in the same subjects in subsequent sessions. Significant hemodynamic activation in the superior temporal gyri (STG) bilaterally and the opercular part of the right inferior frontal gyrus was observed for large and medium deviants only. ERPs showed that small deviants elicited MMN when presented in silence but not when presented with recorded MR background noise, indicating that small deviants were hardly detected under fMRI conditions. The MR signal change in temporal lobe regions was larger for large than for medium deviants. For the right fronto-opercular cortex the opposite pattern was observed. The strength of the temporal activation correlated with the amplitude of the change-related ERP at around 110 ms from stimulus onset while the frontal activation correlated with the change-related ERP at around 150 ms. These results suggest that the right fronto-opercular cortex is part of the neural network generating the MMN. Three alternative explanations of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Contingent Negative Variation / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement*
  • Loudness Perception / physiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*