Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 236, Issue 10, pp 2713–2726 | Cite as

Sound frequency affects the auditory motion-onset response in humans

  • Mikaella SarrouEmail author
  • Pia Marlena Schmitz
  • Nicole Hamm
  • Rudolf Rübsamen
Research Article


The current study examines the modulation of the motion-onset response based on the frequency-range of sound stimuli. Delayed motion-onset and stationary stimuli were presented in a free-field by sequentially activating loudspeakers on an azimuthal plane keeping the natural percept of externalized sound presentation. The sounds were presented in low- or high-frequency ranges and had different motion direction within each hemifield. Difference waves were calculated by contrasting the moving and stationary sounds to isolate the motion-onset responses. Analyses carried out at the peak amplitudes and latencies on the difference waves showed that the early part of the motion response (cN1) was modulated by the frequency range of the sounds with stronger amplitudes elicited by stimuli with high frequency range. Subsequent post hoc analysis of the normalized amplitude of the motion response confirmed the previous finding by excluding the possibility that the frequency range had an overall effect on the waveform, and showing that this effect was instead limited to the motion response. These results support the idea of a modular organization of the motion-onset response with the processing of primary sound motion characteristics being reflected in the early part of the response. Also, the article highlights the importance of specificity in auditory stimulus design.


Auditory motion Human Event-related potential Difference wave Frequency 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Alexandra Ludwig on valuable feedback on a previous version of the article, Dr. Philipp Ruhnau for helpful discussions on the revision, Dr. Reshanne R. Reeder for proofreading the manuscript and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on the manuscript. The study was supported by a grant from the IMPRS NeuroCom of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig, Germany) and by the Erasmus Mundus student exchange network in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience (ACN).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

221_2018_5329_MOESM1_ESM.rar (13 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (RAR 13341 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication: Function, Structure, and Plasticity (IMPRS NeuroCom)Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain SciencesLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Institute for Biology, General Zoology and NeurobiologyUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  3. 3.Kopfzentrum Gruppe, Performance and Quality ManagementLeipzigGermany

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