In this study variation of human auditory evoked mismatch field amplitudes in response to complex tones as a function of the removal in single partials in the onset period was investigated. It was determined: 1-A single frequency elimination in a sound stimulus plays a significant role in human brain sound recognition. 2-By comparing the mismatches of the brain response due to a single frequency elimination in the "Starting Transient" and "Sustain Part" of the sound stimulus, it is found that the brain is more sensitive to frequency elimination in the Starting Transient.
This study involves 4 healthy subjects with normal hearing. Neural activity was recorded with stimulus whole-head MEG. Verification of spatial location in the auditory cortex was determined by comparing with MRI images. In the first set of stimuli, repetitive ('standard') tones with five selected onset frequencies were randomly embedded in the string of rare ('deviant') tones with randomly varying inter stimulus intervals. In the deviant tones one of the frequency components was omitted relative to the deviant tones during the onset period. The frequency of the test partial of the complex tone was intentionally selected to preclude its reinsertion by generation of harmonics or combination tones due to either the nonlinearity of the ear, the electronic equipment or the brain processing.
In the second set of stimuli, time structured as above, repetitive ('standard') tones with five selected sustained frequency components were embedded in the string of rare '(deviant') tones for which one of these selected frequencies was omitted in the sustained tone. In both measurements, the carefully frequency selection precluded their reinsertion by generation of harmonics or combination tones due to the nonlinearity of the ear, the electronic equipment and brain processing. The same considerations for selecting the test frequency partial were applied.
Results. By comparing MMN of the two data sets, the relative contribution to sound recognition of the omitted partial frequency components in the onset and sustained regions has been determined.
Conclusion. The presence of significant mismatch negativity, due to neural activity of auditory cortex, emphasizes that the brain recognizes the elimination of a single frequency of carefully chosen anharmonic frequencies. It was shown this mismatch is more significant if the single frequency elimination occurs in the onset period.