Memory-based or afferent processes in mismatch negativity (MMN): A review of the evidence

Risto Näätänen, Thomas Jacobsen, István Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

397 Citations (Scopus)


The mismatch negativity (MMN) is an electromagnetic response to any discriminable change in regular auditory input. This response is usually interpreted as being generated by an automatic cortical change-detection process in which a difference is found between the current input and the representation of the regular aspects of the preceding auditory input. Recently, this interpretation was questioned by Jääskeläinen et al. (2004) who proposed that the MMN is a product of an N1 (N1a) difference wave emerging in the subtraction procedure used to visualize and quantify the MMN. We now evaluate this "adaptation hypothesis" of the MMN in the light of the available data. It is shown that the MMN cannot be accounted for by differential activation of the afferent N1 transient detectors by repetitive ("standard") stimuli and deviant ("novel") stimuli and that the presence of a memory representation of the standard is required for the elicitation of MMN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • Auditory change
  • Auditory event-related potential (AERP)
  • Feature-detector adaptation
  • Mismatch negativity (MMN)
  • N1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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