Temporal window of integration of auditory information in the human brain

Psychophysiology. 1998 Sep;35(5):615-9. doi: 10.1017/s0048577298000183.


A deviation in the acoustic environment activates an automatic change-detection system based on a memory mechanism that builds a neural trace representing the preceding sounds. The present study revealed that the auditory-cortex mechanisms underlying this sensory memory integrate acoustic events over time, producing a perception of a unitary auditory event. We recorded magnetic responses (MMNm) to occasional stimulus omissions in trains of stimuli presented at a constant stimulus-onset asynchrony (SOA) that was, in different blocks, either shorter or longer in duration than the assumed length of the temporal window of integration. A definite MMNm was elicited by stimulus omission only with the three shortest SOAs used: 100, 125, and 150 ms, but not with 175 ms. Thus, 160-170 ms was estimated as the length of the temporal window used by the central auditory system in integrating successive auditory input into auditory event percepts.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / physiology
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetoencephalography / psychology*
  • Male
  • Time Factors