We recorded cortical activities in response to the onset and offset of a pure tone of long duration (LONG) and a train of brief pulses of a pure tone with an interstimulus interval of 50 ms (ISI-50 ms) or 100 ms (ISI-100 ms) by use of magnetoencephalograms in 11 healthy volunteers to clarify temporal and spatial profiles of the auditory on- and off-cortical response. Results showed that a region around the superior temporal gyrus (STG) of both hemispheres responded to both the onset and offset of the stimulus. The location of the source responsible for the main activity (N1m) was not significantly different between the on- and off-responses for any of the three tones. The peak latency of on-N1m was similar under the three conditions, while the peak latency of off-N1m was precisely determined by the ISI, which suggested that off-N1m is based on short-term memory of the stimulus frequency. In addition, there was a positive correlation of the N1m amplitude of N1m between the on- and off-responses among the subjects. The present results suggested that auditory on-N1m and off-N1m have similar physiological significance involved in responding to abrupt changes.
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