Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 5, pp 1519–1530 | Cite as

The event-related potential component P3a is diminished by identical deviance repetition, but not by non-identical repetitions

  • Timm Rosburg
  • Michael Weigl
  • Ronja Thiel
  • Ralph Mager
Research Article


Mismatch negativity (MMN) represents an event-related potential (ERP) component which is elicited by deviant sound events in an otherwise regular, repetitive stimulation. The MMN amplitude typically decreases when two identical deviants are presented in direct succession, but it remains stable when the two deviants vary from the standard in different features. Less is known about such repetition effects on another ERP component, the P3a, which usually follows the MMN. In the current study, we investigated how the P3a was affected by identical and non-identical repetitions of sound deviants. The ERP analysis revealed that the P3a amplitudes were strongly diminished when the repeated deviants were identical, but the P3a remained stable when the repeated deviants varied. The findings suggest that not only the deviance detection system, as reflected in the MMN, but also subsequent attention switch systems, as reflected in the P3a, operate independently across different sound features.


Attention Event-related potentials Mismatch negativity Prefrontal cortex Predictive coding 



The authors greatly appreciate the assistance of Melanie Hilz and Jacqueline Hamann in collecting part of the data. We greatly appreciated the constructive feedback of the three anonymous reviewers.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have potential conflicts of interest to be disclosed.

Supplementary material

221_2018_5237_MOESM1_ESM.docx (459 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 459 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic Psychiatry, University Psychiatric ClinicsUniversity BaselBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Experimental Neuropsychology Unit, Department of PsychologySaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany

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