Impact of lower-vs. upper-hemifield presentation on automatic colour-deviance detection: A visual mismatch negativity study

Dagmar Müller, Urte Roeber, István Winkler, Nelson Trujillo-Barreto, István Czigler, Erich Schröger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


The automatic processing of deviances from the temporal context of the visual environment has become an important topic in visual cognitive sciences, which is often investigated using the visual mismatch negativity (vMMN). This event-related potential (ERP) component is elicited by an irregular stimulus (e.g., a red disc) presented in a series of stimuli (e.g., green discs) comprising a temporal regularity (e.g., colour repetition). We determined the influence of lower- vs. upper-hemifield presentation of the irregular stimulus on the vMMN while using whole-field stimulus displays controlling for sustained shifts in spatial attention. Deviances presented in the lower hemifield elicited a larger vMMN than the ones presented in the upper hemifield at a latency of 200-280 ms. However, this asymmetry was preceded by deviance-related hemifield effects already emerging at an earlier latency (110-150 ms), where upper-hemifield deviances elicited a positive potential but lower-hemifield deviances did not. With variable resolution electromagnetic tomography (VARETA) early deviance-related activity was localised to retinotopically organised regions of the visual cortex (BA 17/18) and vMMN-sources were localised to the middle/superior occipital gyrus, to higher areas along the temporal visual stream, but also to BA 17/18. We argue that the upper/lower-hemifield vMMN asymmetry relies at least partially on the hemifield-dependent differential sensitivity of early deviance-related activity generated in retinotopically organised regions of the visual cortex. However, a superior automatic processing of deviances presented in the lower visual hemifield may also contribute to the effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalBrain research
Publication statusPublished - Sep 7 2012


  • Deviance detection
  • Event-related potential (ERP)
  • Source localisation
  • Upper/lower-hemifield stimulation
  • Variable resolution electromagnetic tomography (VARETA)
  • Visual mismatch negativity (vMMN)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

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