Human visual system automatically represents large-scale sequential regularities.Brain Res. 2010 Mar 04; 1317:165-79.BR
Our brain recordings reveal that large-scale sequential regularities defined across non-adjacent stimuli can be automatically represented in visual sensory memory. To show that, we adopted an auditory paradigm developed by Sussman, E., Ritter, W., and Vaughan, H. G. Jr. (1998). Predictability of stimulus deviance and the mismatch negativity. NeuroReport, 9, 4167-4170, Sussman, E., and Gumenyuk, V. (2005). Organization of sequential sounds in auditory memory. NeuroReport, 16, 1519-1523 to the visual domain by presenting task-irrelevant infrequent luminance-deviant stimuli (D, 20%) inserted among task-irrelevant frequent stimuli being of standard luminance (S, 80%) in randomized (randomized condition, SSSDSSSSSDSSSSD...) and fixed manners (fixed condition, SSSSDSSSSDSSSSD...). Comparing the visual mismatch negativity (visual MMN), an event-related brain potential (ERP) index of memory-mismatch processes in human visual sensory system, revealed that visual MMN elicited by deviant stimuli was reduced in the fixed compared to the randomized condition. Thus, the large-scale sequential regularity being present in the fixed condition (SSSSD) must have been represented in visual sensory memory. Interestingly, this effect did not occur in conditions with stimulus-onset asynchronies (SOAs) of 480 and 800 ms but was confined to the 160-ms SOA condition supporting the hypothesis that large-scale regularity extraction was based on perceptual grouping of the five successive stimuli defining the regularity.