Mismatch negativity results from bilateral asymmetric dipole sources in the frontal and temporal lobes

The event-related potential (ERP) reflecting auditory change detection (mismatch negativity, MMN) registers automatic selective processing of a deviant sound with respect to a working memory template resulting from a series of standard sounds. Controversy remains whether MMN can be generated in the frontal as well as the temporal cortex. Our aim was to see if frontal as well as temporal lobe dipoles could explain MMN recorded after pitch-deviants (Pd-MMN) and duration deviants (Dd-MMN). EEG recordings were taken from 32 sites in 14 healthy subjects during a passive 3-tone oddball presented during a simple visual discrimination and an active auditory discrimination condition. Both conditions were repeated after one month. The Pd-MMN was larger, peaked earlier and correlated better between sessions than the Dd-MMN. Two dipoles in the auditory cortex and two in the frontal lobe (left cingulate and right inferior frontal cortex) were found to be similarly placed for Pd- and Dd-MMN, and were well replicated on retest. This study confirms interactions between activity generated in the frontal and auditory temporal cortices in automatic attention-like processes that resemble initial brain imaging reports of unconscious visual change detection.. The lack of interference between sessions shows that the situation is likely to be sensitive to treatment or illness effects on fronto-temporal interactions involving repeated measures.


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