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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 27 (2013), Issue 2, Pages 193-200

Stability of Auditory Discrimination and Novelty Processing in Physiological Aging

Alberto Raggi, Domenica Tasca, Francesco Rundo, and Raffaele Ferri

Department of Neurology I.C., Oasi Institute for Research on Mental Retardation and Brain Aging (IRCCS), Troina, Italy

Received 10 December 2012; Accepted 10 December 2012

Copyright © 2013 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Complex higher-order cognitive functions and their possible changes with aging are mandatory objectives of cognitive neuroscience. Event-related potentials (ERPs) allow investigators to probe the earliest stages of information processing. N100, Mismatch negativity (MMN) and P3a are auditory ERP components that reflect automatic sensory discrimination. The aim of the present study was to determine if N100, MMN and P3a parameters are stable in healthy aged subjects, compared to those of normal young adults. Normal young adults and older participants were assessed using standardized cognitive functional instruments and their ERPs were obtained with an auditory stimulation at two different interstimulus intervals, during a passive paradigm. All individuals were within the normal range on cognitive tests. No significant differences were found for any ERP parameters obtained from the two age groups. This study shows that aging is characterized by a stability of the auditory discrimination and novelty processing. This is important for the arrangement of normative for the detection of subtle preclinical changes due to abnormal brain aging.