Simultaneously active pre-attentive representations of local and global rules for sound sequences in the human brain

J�nos Horváth, Istv�n Czigler, Elyse Sussman, Istv�n Winkler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Regular sequences of sounds (i.e., non-random) can usually be described by several, equally valid rules. Rules allowing extrapolation from one sound to the next are termed local rules, those that define relations between temporally non-adjacent sounds are termed global rules. The aim of the present study was to determine whether both local and global rules can be simultaneously extracted from a sound sequence even when attention is directed away from the auditory stimuli. The pre-attentive representation of a sequence of two alternating tones (differing only in frequency) was investigated using the mismatch negativity (MMN) auditory event-related potential. Both local- and global-rule violations of tone alternation elicited the MMN component while subjects ignored the auditory stimuli. This finding suggests that (a) pre-attentive auditory processes can extract both local and global rules from sound sequences, and (b) that several regularity representations of a sound sequence are simultaneously maintained during the pre-attentive phase of auditory stimulus processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001



  • Auditory event-related potentials
  • Mismatch negativity
  • Regularity representation
  • Temporal organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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