This study explored duration mismatch negativity reductions observed in individuals with schizophrenia, in particular, the relationship to behavioural measures of temporal discrimination and two event-related potential (ERP) components occurring during the first phase of auditory sensory memory. Twenty-two patients with a DSM-IV and ICD-10 diagnosis of schizophrenia and 25 healthy comparison volunteers participated in a behavioural and an ERP testing session. Both groups performed equivalently on behavioural estimates of filled interval duration discrimination and gap detection. In contrast, electrophysiological measures revealed a significant reduction in patients' duration mismatch negativity and a significant difference in patients for the pattern of N100 facilitation over short stimulus onset asynchronies. Whilst behavioural results indicate intact temporal processing of filled intervals and equal temporal resolution limits in schizophrenia, both ERP measures indicated differences in auditory processing that may be traced to activity occurring during the first 250 ms. Results highlight the possibility of abnormalities in the process of auditory trace formation and temporal summation in schizophrenia. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.