Detecting unexpected stimuli in the environment is a critical function of the auditory system. Responses to unexpected “deviant” sounds are enhanced compared to responses to expected stimuli. At the human scalp, deviance detection is reflected in the mismatch negativity (MMN) and in an enhancement of the middle-latency response (MLR). Single neurons often respond more strongly to a stimulus when rare than when common, a phenomenon termed stimulus-specific adaptation (SSA). Here we compare stimulus-specific adaptation with scalp-recorded deviance-related responses. We conclude that early markers of deviance detection in the time range of the MLR could be a direct correlate of cortical SSA. Both occur at an early level of cortical activation, both are robust findings with low-probability stimuli, and both show properties of genuine deviance detection. Their causal relation with the later scalp-recorded MMN is a key question in this field.