While louder noises are more audible from a distance, loudness per se does not pre-determine the disruptive properties of extraneous noise. Arguably, auditory distraction is a question of more prominent economic and human relevance, answerable by cognitive neuroscience. The N1 hypothesis was tested that factors related to the generation of N1 could cause auditory distraction. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were derived to ignored tones presented during the retention interval of a delayed serial task. For the first time, ERP components Mismatch negativity (MMN) and N1, occurring during the same time range, were measured to discern spatiotemporal and functional properties of their generation in this time range. A pitch-varying 9-token sequence (containing "control" tones) was more disruptive than a 1-token sequence (containing a repeated "standard" tone). Relative to a 1-token sequence, no significant disruptive advantage was seen with the oddball sequence (containing "deviants"). Control tones elicited augmented N1 amplitudes over standard tones, yet deviants elicited an additional augment (MMN) with distinct temporal properties and topography. MMN and N1 are thus functionally-distinct components of the auditory ERP. The N1 hypothesis was supported. That is, factors related to N1, not MMN, could cause the auditory distraction effects shown.