N1-P2 recordings to gaps in broadband noise

Shannon B. Palmer, Frank E. Musiek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Normal temporal processing is important for the perception of speech in quiet and in difficult listening situations. Temporal resolution is commonly measured using a behavioral gap detection task, where the patient or subject must participate in the evaluation process. This is difficult to achieve with subjects who cannot reliably complete a behavioral test. However, recent research has investigated the use of evoked potential measures to evaluate gap detection. Purpose: The purpose of the current study was to record N1-P2 responses to gaps in broadband noise in normal hearing young adults. Comparisons were made of the N1 and P2 latencies, amplitudes, and morphology to different length gaps in noise in an effort to quantify the changing responses of the brain to these stimuli. It was the goal of this study to show that electrophysiological recordings can be used to evaluate temporal resolution and measure the influence of short and long gaps on the N1-P2 waveform. Research Design: This study used a repeated-measures design. All subjects completed a behavioral gap detection procedure to establish their behavioral gap detection threshold (BGDT). N1-P2 waveforms were recorded to the gap in a broadband noise. Gap durations were 20 msec, 2 msec above their BGDT, and 2 msec. These durations were chosen to represent a suprathreshold gap, a near-threshold gap, and a subthreshold gap. Study Sample: Fifteen normal-hearing young adult females were evaluated. Subjects were recruited from the local university community. Data Collection and Analysis: Latencies and amplitudes for N1 and P2 were compared across gap durations for all subjects using a repeated-measures analysis of variance. A qualitative description of responses was also included. Results: Most subjects did not display an N1-P2 response to a 2 msec gap, but all subjects had present clear evoked potential responses to 20 msec and 2+ msec gaps. Decreasing gap duration toward threshold resulted in decreasing waveform amplitude. However, N1 and P2 latencies remained stable as gap duration changed. Conclusions: N1-P2 waveforms can be elicited by gaps in noise in young normal-hearing adults. The responses are present as low as 2 msec above behavioral gap detection thresholds (BGDT). Gaps that are below BGDT do not generally evoke an electrophysiological response. These findings indicate that when a waveform is present, the gap duration is likely above their BGDT. Waveform amplitude is also a good index of gap detection, since amplitude decreases with decreasing gap duration. Future studies in this area will focus on various age groups and individuals with auditory disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Audiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Auditory evoked potentials
  • Electrophysiology
  • Gap detection
  • N1-P2 response
  • Temporal processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'N1-P2 recordings to gaps in broadband noise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this