Indexed on: 30 Aug '08Published on: 30 Aug '08Published in: Science in China. Series C, Life sciences / Chinese Academy of Sciences
Event-related potentials were measured in 12 healthy youth subjects aged 19-22 using the paradigm "cross-modal and delayed response" which is able to improve unattended purity and to avoid the effect of task target on the deviant components of ERP. The experiment included two conditions: (i) Attend visual modality, ignore auditory modality; (ii) attend auditory modality, ignore visual modality. The stimuli under the two conditions were the same. The difference wave was obtained by subtracting ERPs of the standard stimuli from that of the deviant stimuli. The present results showed that mismatch negativity (MMN), N2b and P3 components can be produced in the auditory and visual modalities under attention condition. However, only MMN was observed in the two modalities under inattention condition. Auditory and visual MMN have some features in common: their largest MMN wave peaks were distributed respectively over their primary sensory projection areas of the scalp under attention condition, but over fronto-central scalp under inattention condition. There was no significant difference between the amplitudes of visual and auditory MMN. Their amplitudes and the scalp distribution were unaffected by attention, thus suggesting that MMN amplitude is an important index reflecting automatic processing in the brain. However, the latency of the auditory and visual MMN were affected by attention, showing that MMN not only reflects automatic processing but also probably relates to control processing.