The neural circuitry of pre-attentive auditory change-detection: an fMRI study of pitch and duration mismatch negativity generators

Cereb Cortex. 2005 May;15(5):545-51. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhh155. Epub 2004 Sep 1.


Electrophysiological studies have revealed a pre-attentive change-detection system in the auditory modality. This system emits a signal termed the mismatch negativity (MMN) when any detectable change in a regular pattern of auditory stimulation occurs. The precise intracranial sources underlying MMN generation, and in particular whether these vary as a function of the acoustic feature that changes, is a matter of some debate. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we show that anatomically distinct networks of auditory cortices are activated as a function of the deviating acoustic feature--in this case, tone frequency and tone duration--strongly supporting the hypothesis that MMN generators in auditory cortex are feature dependent. We also detail regions of the frontal and parietal cortices activated by change-detection processes. These regions also show feature dependence and we hypothesize that they reflect recruitment of attention-switching mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Pitch Discrimination / physiology*