Organization of sequential sounds in auditory memory

Neuroreport. 2005 Sep 8;16(13):1519-23. doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000177002.35193.4c.


A repeating five-tone pattern was presented at several stimulus rates (200, 400, 600, and 800 ms onset-to-onset) to determine at what temporal proximity the five-tone repeating unit would be represented in memory. The mismatch negativity component of event-related brain potentials was used to index how the sounds were organized in memory when participants had no task with the sounds. Only at the 200-ms onset-to-onset pace was the five-tone sequence unitized in memory. At presentation rates of 400 ms and above, the regularity (a different frequency tone occurred every fifth tone) was not detected and mismatch negativity was elicited by these tones in the sequence. The results show that temporal proximity plays a role in unitizing successive sounds in auditory memory. These results also suggest that global relationships between successive sounds are represented at the level of auditory cortices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*