Differences in hemispheric predominance between across- and within-category change perception of vowels were assessed using a whole-head magnetoencephalography. The magnetic mismatch responses (MMNm) to pure-tone and vowel within-category changes were significantly predominant in the right hemisphere; on the other hand, vowel across-category MMNm did not differ in power between hemispheres. The results suggest that both hemispheres are symmetrically activated in the preattentive across-category change perception of vowels, while the within-category change of a vowel is analyzed as the change in physical features of the stimuli, thus predominantly activating the right hemisphere. Thus, the relative contribution of the left auditory cortex in the preattentive speech processing may occur only at the level of perception of the vowel across-category change.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes