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Mismatch Negativity: Different Water in the Same River

Picton T.W.a · Alain C.a · Otten L.b · Ritter W.c · Achim A.d
aRotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, University of Toronto, Canada; bInstitute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of London, England; cDepartment of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, N.Y., USA; dCentre de Neuroscience de la Cognition, Université de Québec à Montréal, Canada Audiol Neurootol 2000;5:111–139 (DOI:10.1159/000013875)


The mismatch negativity (MMN) is a frontal negative deflection in the human event-related potential that typically occurs when a repeating auditory stimulus changes in some manner. The MMN can be elicited by many kinds of stimulus change, varying from simple changes in a single stimulus feature to abstract changes in the relationship between stimuli. The main intracerebral sources for the MMN are located in the auditory cortices of the temporal lobe. Since it occurs whether or not stimuli are being attended, the MMN represents an automatic cerebral process for detecting change. The MMN is clinically helpful in terms of demonstrating disordered sensory processing or disordered memory in groups of patients. Improvements in the techniques for measuring the MMN and in the paradigms for eliciting it will be needed before the MMN can become clinically useful as an objective measurement of such disorders in individual patients.

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