Theta oscillation during auditory change detection: An MEG study

Fu Jung Hsiao, Zin An Wu, Low Tone Ho, Yung Yang Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


To study the phase and power characteristics of brain oscillations during the preattentive detection of auditory deviance, we recorded magnetoencephalographic responses in 10 healthy subjects with an oddball paradigm. As the subject was watching a silent movie, standard tones (1000-Hz frequency, 100-ms duration) and their duration deviants (50-ms duration, probability of 15%) were randomly delivered binaurally. In addition to localizing the magnetic counterpart of mismatch negativity (MMNm) with equivalent current dipole modeling, we also measured the phase-locking value (PLV) and power change of the oscillatory responses to standard and deviant stimuli by employing the Morlet wavelet-based analysis. The MMNm signals peaking at 150-200 ms after the onset of deviant were localized in bilateral temporal regions with larger amplitudes in the right hemisphere. Then 50 ms after the onset of either standard or deviant stimuli, we observed an increase of PLV and power of theta and alpha oscillations in bilateral temporal regions. PLVs of theta and alpha activities to deviant stimuli were significantly larger in the right than left hemisphere (P < 0.001). Compared with standard stimuli, deviants elicited a larger theta PLV (P < 0.001) at 150-300 ms and a larger theta power change (P < 0.05) at 50-300 ms for the responses in the right temporal region. In addition, a prominent theta phase-locking of deviant-elicited responses was found in the right frontal area at 110-250 ms (P < 0.01). Our current data suggest that a pronounced phase and power modulation on sound-elicited theta oscillations might characterize the change detection processing in the temporo-frontal network as reflected by the mismatch negativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2009


  • Auditory change detection
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG)
  • Mismatch negativity (MMN)
  • Phase-locking analysis
  • Theta rhythm
  • Wavelet transform


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