COGNITIVE NEUROSCIENCE AND NEUROPSYCHOLOGYSex matters n-back modulates emotional mismatch negativityFan, Yang-Tenga; Hsu, Ya-Yua; Cheng, Yaweia,b,cAuthor Information aInstitute of Neuroscience and Brain Research Center, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan bDepartment of Rehabilitation, National Yang-Ming University Hospital, Yilan cDepartment of Education and Research, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's website (www.neuroreport.com). Correspondence to Yawei Cheng, MD, PhD, Brain Research Center, Institute of Neuroscience, National Yang-Ming University, 155, Sec. 2, St Linong, Beitou, Taipei 112, Taiwan Tel: +886 2 28267912; fax: +886 2 28264903; e-mail: [email protected] Received February 15, 2013 Accepted March 18, 2013 NeuroReport: June 19, 2013 - Volume 24 - Issue 9 - p 457-463 doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32836169b9 Buy SDC Metrics Abstract This work investigates the impact of task load on irrelevant emotional voice processing between the sexes. The working memory task was manipulated by asking participants to evaluate the position of a visual stimulus (0-back) and compare the position of the current stimulus with the one or two trials before (1-back and 2-back). We recorded auditory event-related potentials while presenting the emotionally spoken syllables ‘dada’ and acoustically matched nonvocal sounds to healthy adults. Women, not men, showed larger amplitudes of emotional mismatch negativity (MMN), presumed to reflect preattentive auditory change detection, during the 1-back task than the 0-back and 2-back tasks. Among women only weaker emotional MMN amplitudes were associated with a higher 2-back accuracy. Neither task difficulty nor sex had any effect on MMN when responding to nonvocal sounds. Our findings suggest that there are sex differences in preattentive emotional voice processing under varying levels of task load. © 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.