Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a negative component of event-related brain potentials elicited by stimulus transitions. Stimulus duration transition also elicits MMN (duration MMN), with a magnitude that is related to the degree of duration change and the discrimination ability. The neural substrates of duration MMN have not yet been investigated. We therefore studied how duration transitions in an auditory stimulus train are represented in neurons in the primary auditory cortex of anesthetized guinea pigs. Two types of neuronal responses to the context of changes in stimulus duration were found. One was a reduced response as the duration of the preceding stimulus was increased. Second was an enhancement of the late components of the response including sustained and offset responses at the duration transition. The former may be explained by the previously proposed two-tone suppression, which is dependent on the preceding stimulus duration. The latter is likely to be caused by stimulus-specific adaptation that could be a possible neural generator of duration MMN.
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