Auditory event-related dynamics of the EEG spectrum and effects of exposure to tones

Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1993 Apr;86(4):283-93. doi: 10.1016/0013-4694(93)90110-h.


A new measure of event-related brain dynamics, the event-related spectral perturbation (ERSP), is introduced to study event-related dynamics of the EEG spectrum induced by, but not phase-locked to, the onset of the auditory stimuli. The ERSP reveals aspects of event-related brain dynamics not contained in the ERP average of the same response epochs. Twenty-eight subjects participated in daily auditory evoked response experiments during a 4 day study of the effects of 24 h free-field exposure to intermittent trains of 89 dB low frequency tones. During evoked response testing, the same tones were presented through headphones in random order at 5 sec intervals. No significant changes in behavioral thresholds occurred during or after free-field exposure. ERSPs induced by target pips presented in some inter-tone intervals were larger than, but shared common features with, ERSPs induced by the tones, most prominently a ridge of augmented EEG amplitude from 11 to 18 Hz, peaking 1-1.5 sec after stimulus onset. Following 3-11 h of free-field exposure, this feature was significantly smaller in tone-induced ERSPs; target-induced ERSPs were not similarly affected. These results, therefore, document systematic effects of exposure to intermittent tones on EEG brain dynamics even in the absence of changes in auditory thresholds.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory*
  • Humans