Event-related brain electric activity (ERP) was investigated to unnoticed visual changes. The orientation of grid elements (vertical or horizontal) changed after the presentation of 10-15 identical stimuli. The grid patterns were task irrelevant, and were presented in the background of a shape discrimination task. During the first half of the session, participants were unaware of the stimulus change. However, in comparison to the ERPs to the fifth identical stimuli, stimulus change elicited posterior negativities in the 270-375 ms range (visual mismatch negativity, vMMN). With participants instructed on the stimulus change, negativities emerged with earlier onset and with wider distribution. When stimulus change was preceded by only two identical stimuli, there were no such ERP effects. As the results show, a longer sequence of identical unattended stimuli may establish the memory representation of stimulus regularity, and violation of regularity is indicated by posterior negative ERP components (vMMN).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology