Mismatch field (MMF) is an early magnetoencephalographic response evoked by deviant stimuli within a sequence of standard stimuli. Although auditory MMF is reported to be an automatic response, the automaticity of visual MMF has not been clearly demonstrated, partly because of the difficulty in designing an ignore condition. Our modified oddball paradigm had a masking stimulus inserted between briefly presented standard and deviant stimuli (vertical gratings with different spatial frequencies). Perceptual discrimination between masked standard and deviant stimuli was difficult, but the early magnetoencephalographic response for the deviant was significantly larger than that for the standard, when the former had a higher spatial frequency than the latter. Our findings strongly support the hypothesis that visual MMF is evoked automatically.
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