AUDITORY AND VESTIBULAR SYSTEMSFamiliarity of environmental sounds is used to establish auditory rulesKirmse, Ursulaa,c; Schröger, Ericha; Jacobsen, Thomasa,b Author Information aInstitute for Psychology, Cognitive and Biological Psychology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig bExperimental Psychology Unit, Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Hamburg cDepartment of Psychology, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany Correspondence to Ursula Kirmse, Department of Psychology, General Psychology, University of Konstanz, P.O. Box D36, 78457 Konstanz, Germany Tel: +49 753 188 2292; fax: +49 753 188 2971; e-mail: [email protected] Received April 12, 2011 Accepted January 16, 2012 NeuroReport: March 28, 2012 - Volume 23 - Issue 5 - p 320-324 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328351760b Buy Metrics Abstract This study addressed the extraction of long-term sound familiarity as a higher-order feature of complex, environmental sounds. Physically variable, familiar animal sounds and spectrotemporally matched, unfamiliar control sounds were presented. Participants ignored the acoustic stimuli. Infrequent deviant sounds violated the familiarity status established by the standard sounds, but no regularity on the basis of physical features. In the auditory event-related potential, deviants elicited a negative-going deflection over parietal scalp areas around 230 ms. This effect occurred for familiar deviants among unfamiliar standards and for unfamiliar deviants among familiar standards. The results indicate the establishment of an auditory regularity based on sound familiarity. This reflects the extraction of sound familiarity outside the focus of attention. © 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.