Article

Common substrate for mental arithmetic and finger representation in the parietal cortex

Institut de Recherche en Sciences Psychologiques, Université catholique de Louvain, Place Cardinal Mercier 10, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 05/2012; 62(3):1520-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.047
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The history of mathematics provides several examples of the use of fingers to count or calculate. These observations converge with developmental data showing that fingers play a critical role in the acquisition of arithmetic knowledge. Further studies evidenced specific interference of finger movements with arithmetic problem solving in adults, raising the question of whether or not finger and number manipulations rely on common brain areas. In the present study, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate the possible overlap between the brain areas involved in mental arithmetic and those involved in finger discrimination. Solving subtraction and multiplication problems was found to increase cerebral activation bilaterally in the horizontal part of the intraparietal sulcus (hIPS) and in the posterior part of the superior parietal lobule (PSPL). Finger discrimination was associated with increased activity in a bilateral occipito-parieto-precentral network extending from the extrastriate body area to the primary somatosensory and motor cortices. A conjunction analysis showed common areas for mental arithmetic and finger representation in the hIPS and PSPL bilaterally. Voxelwise correlations further showed that finger discrimination and mental arithmetic induced a similar pattern of activity within the parietal areas only. Pattern similarity was more important for the left than for the right hIPS and for subtraction than for multiplication. These findings provide the first evidence that the brain circuits involved in finger representation also underlie arithmetic operations in adults.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Michael Andres
  • Source
    • "s but not with multipli - cation problems ( Michaux et al . , 2013 ) . Therefore , we expected overall greater involvement of somatosensory and motor areas in subtraction problems . This would be consistent with the greater overlap between numerical processing and finger discrimination found for subtraction than multiplication problems in adults ( Andres et al . , 2012 ) . Second , we tested the relationship between skill and amount of activation in finger related cortex . Studies on finger gnosia have shown that greater finger discrimination skill was predictive of future arithmetical skill ( Noël , 2005 ; Gracia - Bafalluy and Noël , 2008 ) . We therefore expected that children with better finger so"
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this study, we investigate in children the neural underpinnings of finger representation and finger movement involved in single-digit arithmetic problems. Evidence suggests that finger representation and finger-based strategies play an important role in learning and understanding arithmetic. Because different operations rely on different networks, we compared activation for subtraction and multiplication problems in independently localized finger somatosensory and motor areas and tested whether activation was related to skill. Brain activations from children between 8 and 13 years of age revealed that only subtraction problems significantly activated finger motor areas, suggesting reliance on finger-based strategies. In addition, larger subtraction problems yielded greater somatosensory activation than smaller problems, suggesting a greater reliance on finger representation for larger numerical values. Interestingly, better performance in subtraction problems was associated with lower activation in the finger somatosensory area. Our results support the importance of fine-grained finger representation in arithmetical skill and are the first neurological evidence for a functional role of the somatosensory finger area in proficient arithmetical problem solving, in particular for those problems requiring quantity manipulation. From an educational perspective, these results encourage investigating whether different finger-based strategies facilitate arithmetical understanding and encourage educational practices aiming at integrating finger representation and finger-based strategies as a tool for instilling stronger numerical sense.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Frontiers in Psychology
  • Source
    • "While some studies did not involve any explicit finger movements (Tschentscher et al., 2012), many of the above mentioned research used tasks which are spatial in nature by involving movements of fingers (Harrington et al., 2000), pointing/grasping (Simon, Mangin, Cohen, Le Bihan, & Dehaene, 2002), or mapping finger locations to a spatial position (Andres et al., 2012). It is therefore difficult to strongly argue that the parietal cortex is involved in finger representation per s. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Though a clear interaction between finger and number representations has been demonstrated, what drives the development of this intertwining remains unclear. Here we tested early blind, late blind and sighted control participants in two counting tasks, each performed under three different conditions: a resting condition, a condition requiring hands movements and a condition requiring feet movements. In the resting condition, every sighted and late blind spontaneously used their fingers, while the majority of early blind did not. Sighted controls and late blind were moreover selectively disrupted by the interfering hand condition, while the early blind who did not use the finger-counting strategy remained unaffected by the interference conditions. These results therefore demonstrate that visual experience plays an important role in implementing the sensori-motor habits that drive the development of finger–number interactions.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Cognition
  • Source
    • "Among the hypotheses that still need to be tested, it may be presumed that EB make a more appropriate use of working memory capacities (Castronovo & Delvenne, 2013; Crollen & Mahe et al., 2011; Crollen, Seron, & Noël, 2011; Withagen, Kappers, Vervloed, Knoors, & Verhoeven, 2013). In the literature, several brain mapping studies suggest that there is a shared neural network for number and finger processing, including the parietal areas, the precentral gyrus and the primary motor cortex (Andres, Michaux, & Pesenti, 2012; Andres et al., 2007; Harrington et al., 2000; Piazza et al., 2004; Tschentscher et al., 2012; Zago et al., 2001) 3 . Two prevailing views have been recently debated in order to explain the origin of this neuro-anatomical overlap: the functionalist and the redeployment hypotheses . "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Though a clear interaction between finger and number representations has been demonstrated, what drives the development of this intertwining remains unclear. Here we tested early blind, late blind and sighted control participants in two counting tasks, each performed under three different conditions: a resting condition, a condition requiring hands movements and a condition requiring feet movements. In the resting condition, every sighted and late blind spontaneously used their fingers, while the majority of early blind did not. Sighted controls and late blind were moreover selectively disrupted by the interfering hand condition, while the early blind who did not use the finger-counting strategy remained unaffected by the interference conditions. These results therefore demonstrate that visual experience plays an important role in implementing the sensori-motor habits that drive the development of finger-number interactions.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Cognition
Show more