Publication Details

Steiner, G. Z., Barry, R. J. & Gonsalvez, C. J. (2016). Sequential Processing and the Matching-Stimulus Interval Effect in ERP Components: An Exploration of the Mechanism Using Multiple Regression. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10 339-1-339-14.


In oddball tasks, increasing the time between stimuli within a particular condition (target-to-target interval, TTI; nontarget-to-nontarget interval, NNI) systematically enhances N1, P2, and P300 event-related potential (ERP) component amplitudes. This study examined the mechanism underpinning these effects in ERP components recorded from 28 adults who completed a conventional three-tone oddball task. Bivariate correlations, partial correlations and multiple regression explored component changes due to preceding ERP component amplitudes and intervals found within the stimulus series, rather than constraining the task with experimentally constructed intervals, which has been adequately explored in prior studies. Multiple regression showed that for targets, N1 and TTI predicted N2, TTI predicted P3a and P3b, and Processing Negativity (PN), P3b, and TTI predicted reaction time. For rare nontargets, P1 predicted N1, NNI predicted N2, and N1 predicted Slow Wave (SW). Findings show that the mechanism is operating on separate stages of stimulus-processing, suggestive of either increased activation within a number of stimulus-specific pathways, or very long component generator recovery cycles. These results demonstrate the extent to which matching-stimulus intervals influence ERP component amplitudes and behavior in a three-tone oddball task, and should be taken into account when designing similar studies.



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