Hemispheric asymmetry of ERPs and MMNs evoked by slow, fast and abrupt auditory motion

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Abstract

The current MMN study investigates whether brain lateralization during automatic discrimination of sound stimuli moving at different velocities is consistent with one of the three models of asymmetry: the right-hemispheric dominance model, the contralateral dominance model, or the neglect model. Auditory event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded for three patterns of sound motion produced by linear or abrupt changes of interaural time differences. The slow motion (450 deg/s) was used as standard, and the fast motion (620 deg/s) and the abrupt sound shift served as deviants in the oddball blocks. All stimuli had the same onset/offset spatial positions. We compared the effects of the recording side (left, right) and of the direction of sound displacement (ipsi- or contralateral with reference to the side of recording) on the ERPs and mismatch negativity (MMN). Our results indicated different patterns of asymmetry for the ERPs and MMN responses. The ERPs showed a velocity-independent right-hemispheric dominance that emerged at the descending limb of N1 wave (at around 120–160 ms) and could be related to overall context of the preattentive spatial perception. The MMNs elicited in the left hemisphere (at around 230–270 ms) exhibited a contralateral dominance, whereas the right-hemispheric MMNs were insensitive to the direction of sound displacement. These differences in contralaterality between MMN responses produced by the left and the right hemisphere favour the neglect model of the preattentive motion processing indexed by MMN.

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