Developmental changes in P1 and N1 central auditory responses elicited by consonant-vowel syllables

Anu Sharma*, Nina Kraus, Therese J. McGee, Trent G. Nicol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Normal maturation and functioning of the central auditory system affects the development of speech perception and oral language capabilities. This study examined maturation of central auditory pathways as reflected by age- related changes in the P1/N1 components of the auditory evoked potential (AEP). A synthesized consonant-vowel syllable (ba) was used to elicit cortical AEPs in 86 normal children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years and ten normal adults. Distinct age-related changes were observed in the morphology of the AEP waveform. The adult response consists of a prominent negativity (N1) at about 100 ms, preceded by a smaller P1 component at about 50 ms. In contrast, the child response is characterized by a large P1 response at about 100 ms. This wave decreases significantly in latency and amplitude up to about 20 years of age. In children, P1 is followed by a broad negativity at about 200 ms which we term N1b. Many subjects (especially older children) also show an earlier negativity (N1a). Both N1a and N1b latencies decrease significantly with age. Amplitudes of N1a and N1b do not show significant age-related changes. All children have the N1b; however, the frequency of occurrence of N1a increases with age. Data indicate that the child P1 develops systematically into the adult response; however, the relationship of N1a and N1b to the adult N1 is unclear. These results indicate that maturational changes in the central auditory system are complex and extend well into the second decade of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)540-545
Number of pages6
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology - Evoked Potentials
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1997


  • Cortical potentials
  • Development
  • N1
  • P1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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