TitleMismatch negativity to acoustical illusion of beat: how and where the change detection takes place?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsChakalov, Ivan, Paraskevopoulos Evangelos, Wollbrink Andreas, and Pantev Christo
Date Published2014 Oct 15
KeywordsAdult, Auditory Perception, Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Female, Humans, Illusions, Magnetoencephalography, Male, Parietal Lobe, Prefrontal Cortex, Time Factors, Young Adult

In case of binaural presentation of two tones with slightly different frequencies the structures of brainstem can no longer follow the interaural time differences (ITD) resulting in an illusionary perception of beat corresponding to frequency difference between the two prime tones. Hence, the beat-frequency does not exist in the prime tones presented to either ear. This study used binaural beats to explore the nature of acoustic deviance detection in humans by means of magnetoencephalography (MEG). Recent research suggests that the auditory change detection is a multistage process. To test this, we employed 26 Hz-binaural beats in a classical oddball paradigm. However, the prime tones (250 Hz and 276 Hz) were switched between the ears in the case of the deviant-beat. Consequently, when the deviant is presented, the cochleae and auditory nerves receive a "new afferent", although the standards and the deviants are heard identical (26 Hz-beats). This allowed us to explore the contribution of auditory periphery to change detection process, and furthermore, to evaluate its influence on beats-related auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs). LORETA-source current density estimates of the evoked fields in a typical mismatch negativity time-window (MMN) and the subsequent difference-ASSRs were determined and compared. The results revealed an MMN generated by a complex neural network including the right parietal lobe and the left middle frontal gyrus. Furthermore, difference-ASSR was generated in the paracentral gyrus. Additionally, psychophysical measures showed no perceptual difference between the standard- and deviant-beats when isolated by noise. These results suggest that the auditory periphery has an important contribution to novelty detection already at sub-cortical level. Overall, the present findings support the notion of hierarchically organized acoustic novelty detection system.

Alternate JournalNeuroimage
PubMed ID24945673