Direct evidence for differential roles of temporal and frontal components of auditory change detection

  • Shalgi S
  • Deouell L
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Abstract

Automatic change detection is a fundamental capacity of the human brain. In audition, this capacity is indexed by the mismatch negativity (MMN) event-related potential, which is putatively supported by a network consisting of superior temporal and frontal nodes. The aim of this study was to elucidate the roles of these nodes within the neural network of change detection. We used a dichotic paradigm in which subjects (N = 14) attended targets defined by either pitch or spatial location in one auditory stream while the MMN was measured in response to unattended deviants of pitch and spatial location in the other stream. The frontal and temporal components of the MMN were examined using current source density (CSD) measurements. Competition for processing resources nearly eliminated the temporal CSD mismatch response, in a highly feature-specific manner: the response to spatial location deviants was reduced when the target dimension was spatial location but not when it was pitch, whereas the reverse occurred for pitch deviants. In contrast, the frontal CSD mismatch response was neither affected by competition nor by general attention demands. Thus, within the network of change detection, the temporal generators are specifically associated with processing feature-specific information, whereas the role of the frontal generators remains unclear. Moreover, the results are inconsistent with a serial model in which the frontal generator is contingent on activation of the temporal generator. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biased competition
  • Current source densities
  • Mismatch negativity
  • Pre-attentive
  • Sound localization

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