Decay time of the auditory sensory memory trace during wakefulness and REM sleep.

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    • Abstract:
      In a repetitive auditory stimulus sequence, deviant infrequent tones typically elicit a component of auditory event-related potentials termed mismatch negativity (MMN). The elicitation of MMN is assumed to reflect the existence of a memory trace of the standard stimulus that has a decay time of about 10 s and is strengthened by repetition of the standards. The main aim of the present study was to test the decay time of the sensory memory trace during rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep vs. wakefulness, as indexed by the MMN. Subjects were presented 10 tone trains, separated by 3, 6, or 9 s of silence, during waking and REM sleep. Each train consisted of 9 standards of 1000 Hz and 1 deviant of 2000 Hz that occurred at position 1, 2, 4, or 6. The waking deviants elicited a frontocentral negativity with a scalp topography equivalent to the MMN component. During REM sleep, the negative component showed the same scalp distribution only for the 3-s intertrain interval (ITI). In this brain state, the MMN amplitude was smaller and decreased with prolongation of the ITI. These results suggest a weaker sensory memory trace formation and a premature decay time of such a memory trace during REM sleep as compared with wakefulness. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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