Previous studies have found that behavioral and P300 responses to speech are influenced by linguistic cues in the stimuli. Research has found conflicting data regarding the influence of phonemic characteristics of stimuli in the mismatch negativity (MMN) response. The current investigation is a replication of the study designed by Tampas et al. (2005), which studied the effects of linguistic cues on the MMN response. This current study was designed to determine whether the MMN response is influenced by phonetic or purely acoustic stimuli, and to expand our knowledge of the scalp distribution of processing responses to within- and across-category speech and nonspeech stimuli. The stimuli used in this study consisted of within-category synthetic speech stimuli and corresponding nonspeech frequency glides. Participants consisted of 21 (11 male and 10 female) adults between the ages of 18 and 30 years. A same/different discrimination task was administered to all participants. Data from behavioral responses and event-related potentials (MMN and P300) were recorded. Results provided additional evidence that the MMN response is influenced by linguistic information. MMN responses elicited by the nonspeech contrasts had more negative peak amplitudes and longer latencies than MMN responses elicited by speech contrasts. Brain maps of t scores for speech vs. nonspeech contrasts showed significant differences in areas of cognitive processing for all contrast pairs over the left hemisphere near the temporal and parietal areas. The present investigation confirms that there are significant differences in the cortical processing of speech sounds vs. nonspeech sounds.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





evoked response potentials, mismatch negativity, P300, brain mapping, scalp distribution, speech perception, categorical boundaries