Brain events underlying detection and recognition of weak sensory signals

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Science  03 Oct 1980:
Vol. 210, Issue 4465, pp. 80-83
DOI: 10.1126/science.7414324


Through the use of a quantitative extension of signal detection theory, the brain events associated with the detection and recognition of weak acoustic signals were examined by recording brain event-related potentials. The early N100 componenet of the event-related potential varied only with detection, whereas the late P300 component varied with both detection and recognition. P300 amplitude accurately predicted recognition performance on a trial-by-trial basis. The results suggest that detection and recognition are partially concurrent processes in perception and demonstrate that the electrocortical events occurring during the perception of sensory stimuli are closely associated with both detection and recognition of these stimuli by the nervous system.

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