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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 469508, 12 pages
Review Article

The Mismatch Negativity: An Indicator of Perception of Regularities in Music

Department of Psychology, Sun Yat-Sen University, No. 135 Xingang Xi Road, Guangzhou 510275, China

Received 24 April 2015; Revised 23 July 2015; Accepted 26 July 2015

Academic Editor: Stefan Evers

Copyright © 2015 Xide Yu et al. 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.


This paper reviews music research using Mismatch Negativity (MMN). MMN is a deviation-specific component of auditory event-related potential (EPR), which detects a deviation between a sound and an internal representation (e.g., memory trace). Recent studies have expanded the notion and the paradigms of MMN to higher-order music processing such as those involving short melodies, harmony chord, and music syntax. In this vein, we firstly reviewed the evolution of MMN from sound to music and then mainly compared the differences of MMN features between musicians and nonmusicians, followed by the discussion of the potential roles of the training effect and the natural exposure in MMN. Since MMN can serve as an index of neural plasticity, it thus can be widely used in clinical and other applied areas, such as detecting music preference in newborns or assessing wholeness of central auditory system of hearing illness. Finally, we pointed out some open questions and further directions. Current music perception research using MMN has mainly focused on relatively low hierarchical structure of music perception. To fully understand the neural substrates underlying processing of regularities in music, it is important and beneficial to combine MMN with other experimental paradigms such as early right-anterior negativity (ERAN).