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Increased distractibility in closed head injury as revealed by event‐related potentials

Kaipio, Marja‐Liisa; Cheour, Marie; Ceponiene, Rita; Öhman, Juha; Alku, Paavo; Näätänen, Risto

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The present study demonstrates that event‐related potentials (ERPs) may be used to reveal increased distractibility as a physiologically measurable condition after chronic closed head injury (CHI). ERPs were recorded from 17 chronic CHI subjects and from 17 healthy age‐matched controls. Auditory stimuli consisted of variants of vowel /o/ (standards) occasionally replaced by an /e/ vowel (deviant). Subjects were instructed to ignore auditory stimuli while watching a silent movie. In the constant‐standard condition, the vowel /o/ served as the standard and vowel /e/ as the deviant. In the roving‐standard condition, four variants of the vowel /o/ were randomly used as standards in the same stimulus block. None of the stimuli were prototypes in the subjects’ mother tongues. Deviant stimuli elicited significant MMNs in both groups in both conditions, which were significantly smaller in the roving‐standard than in the constant‐standard condition. CHI victims showed significantly larger P3a amplitudes than controls in both conditions, apparently reflecting their enhanced involuntary sifting of attention and thus their increased distractibility.

© 2000 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


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