Visual mismatch negativity reveals automatic detection of sequential regularity violation

Gábor Stefanics, Motohiro Kimura, I. Czigler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sequential regularities are abstract rules based on repeating sequences of environmental events, which are useful to make predictions about future events. Here, we tested whether the visual system is capable to detect sequential regularity in unattended stimulus sequences. The visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) component of the event-related potentials is sensitive to the violation of complex regularities (e.g., object-related characteristics, temporal patterns). We used the vMMN component as an index of violation of conditional (if, then) regularities. In the first experiment, to investigate emergence of vMMN and other change-related activity to the violation of conditional rules, red and green disk patterns were delivered in pairs. The majority of pairs comprised of disk patterns with identical colors, whereas in deviant pairs the colors were different. The probabilities of the two colors were equal. The second member of the deviant pairs elicited a vMMN with longer latency and more extended spatial distribution to deviants with lower probability (10 vs. 30%). In the second (control) experiment the emergence of vMMN to violation of a simple, feature-related rule was studied using oddball sequences of stimulus pairs where deviant colors were presented with 20% probabilities. Deviant colored patterns elicited a vMMN, and this component was larger for the second member of the pair, i.e., after a shorter inter-stimulus interval. This result corresponds to the SOA/(v)MMN relationship, expected on the basis of a memory-mismatch process. Our results show that the system underlying vMMN is sensitive to abstract, conditional rules. Representation of such rules implicates expectation of a subsequent event, therefore vMMN can be considered as a correlate of violated predictions about the characteristics of environmental events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7
Number of pages1
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberMAY
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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Keywords

  • Event-related potential
  • Oddball
  • Predictive models
  • Probability
  • Sequential regularity
  • Visual mismatch negativity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

Cite this

Visual mismatch negativity reveals automatic detection of sequential regularity violation. / Stefanics, Gábor; Kimura, Motohiro; Czigler, I.

In: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, No. MAY, 2011, p. 7.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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