Visual mismatch negativity and stimulus-specific adaptation: the role of stimulus complexity

Petia Kojouharova, Domonkos File, István Sulykos, István Czigler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The present study investigated the function of the brain activity underlying the visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) event-related potential (ERP) component. Snowflake patterns (complex stimuli) were presented as deviants and oblique bar patterns (simple stimuli) as standards, and vice versa in a passive oddball paradigm. Control (equiprobable) sequences of either complex shape patterns or oblique bar patterns with various orientations were also presented. VMMN appeared as the difference between the ERP to the oddball deviant and the ERP to the control (deviant minus control ERP difference). Apart from the shorter latency of the vMMN to the oblique bar pattern as deviant, vMMN to both deviants was similar, i.e., there was no amplitude difference. We attributed the function of the brain processes underlying vMMN to the detection of the infrequent stimulus type (also represented in memory) instead of a call for further processing (a possibility for acquiring more precise representation) of the deviant. An unexpected larger adaptation (control minus standard ERP difference) to the snowflake pattern was also obtained. We suggest that this was due to the acquisition of a more elaborate memory representation of the more complex stimulus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1194
Number of pages16
JournalExperimental brain research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 7 2019


  • Automatic deviant detection
  • Stimulus complexity
  • Stimulus-specific adaptation
  • Visual mismatch negativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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