Humans' early life experience varies by socioeconomic status (SES), raising the question of how this difference is reflected in the adult brain. An important aspect of brain function is the ability to detect salient ambient changes while focusing on a task. Here, we ask whether subjective social status during childhood is reflected by the way young adults' brain detecting changes in irrelevant information. In two studies (total n = 58), we examine electrical brain responses in the frontocentral region to a series of auditory tones, consisting of standard stimuli (80%) and deviant stimuli (20%) interspersed randomly, while participants were engaged in various visual tasks. Both studies showed stronger automatic change detection indexed by MMN in lower SES individuals, regardless of the unattended sound's feature, attended emotional content, or study type. Moreover, we observed a larger MMN in lower-SES participants, although they did not show differences in brain and behavior responses to the attended task. Lower-SES people also did not involuntarily orient more attention to sound changes (i.e., deviant stimuli), as indexed by the P3a. The study indicates that individuals with lower subjective social status may have an increased ability to automatically detect changes in their environment, which may suggest their adaptation to their childhood environments.

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