INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY, vol.13, no.2, pp.161-179, 1992 (SCI-Expanded)
The present paper combines a review of event-related potentials (ERPs) with empirical data concerning the question: what are the differences between auditory evoked potentials (EPs) and two types of ERPs with respect to their frequency components? In this study auditory EPs were elicited by 1500 Hz tones. The first type of ERPs was responses to 3rd attended tones in an omitted stimulus paradigm where every 4th stimulus was omitted. The second type of ERPs was responses to rare 1600 Hz tones in an oddball paradigm. The amplitudes of delta and theta components of EPs and ERPs showed significant differences: in responses to 3rd attended tones there was a significant increase in the theta frequency band (frontal and parietal locations; 0-250 ms). In the delta frequency band there was no significant change. In contrast a diffuse delta increase occurred in oddball responses and an additional prolongation of theta oscillations was observed (late theta response: 250-500 ms). These results are discussed in the context of ERPs as induced rhythmicities. The intracranial sources of ERPs, their psychological correlates and the role of theta rhythms in the cortico-hippocampal interaction are reviewed. From these results and from the literature a working hypothesis is derived assuming that delta responses are mainly involved in signal matching, decision making and surprise, whereas theta responses are more related to focused attention and signal detection.