Discrimination of stress in speech and music: A mismatch negativity (MMN) study

Varghese Peter*, Genevieve Mcarthur, William Forde Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine if duration-related stress in speech and music is processed in a similar way in the brain. To this end, we tested 20 adults for their abstract mismatch negativity (MMN) event-related potentials to two duration-related stress patterns: stress on the first syllable or note (long-short), and stress on the second syllable or note (short-long). A significant MMN was elicited for both speech and music except for the short-long speech stimulus. The long-short stimuli elicited larger MMN amplitudes for speech and music compared to short-long stimuli. An extra negativity-the late discriminative negativity (LDN)-was observed only for music. The larger MMN amplitude for long-short stimuli might be due to the familiarity of the stress pattern in speech and music. The presence of LDN for music may reflect greater long-term memory transfer for music stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1590-1600
Number of pages11
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


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