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  An approach to separating the levels of hierarchical structure building in language and mathematics

Makuuchi, M., Bahlmann, J., & Friederici, A. D. (2012). An approach to separating the levels of hierarchical structure building in language and mathematics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences, 367(1598), 2033-2045. doi:10.1098/rstb.2012.0095.

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 Creators:
Makuuchi, Michiru1, Author              
Bahlmann, Jörg2, Author              
Friederici, Angela D.1, Author              
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1Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634551              
2Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              

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Free keywords: Arithmetic; Complex cognition; Functional magnetic resonance imaging; Sentence processing
 Abstract: We aimed to dissociate two levels of hierarchical structure building in language and mathematics, namely ‘first-level’ (the build-up of hierarchical structure with externally given elements) and ‘second-level’ (the build-up of hierarchical structure with internally represented elements produced by first-level processes). Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated these processes in three domains: sentence comprehension, arithmetic calculation (using Reverse Polish notation, which gives two operands followed by an operator) and a working memory control task. All tasks required the build-up of hierarchical structures at the first- and second-level, resulting in a similar computational hierarchy across language and mathematics, as well as in a working memory control task. Using a novel method that estimates the difference in the integration cost for conditions of different trial durations, we found an anterior-to-posterior functional organization in the prefrontal cortex, according to the level of hierarchy. Common to all domains, the ventral premotor cortex (PMv) supports first-level hierarchy building, while the dorsal pars opercularis (POd) subserves second-level hierarchy building, with lower activation for language compared with the other two tasks. These results suggest that the POd and the PMv support domain-general mechanisms for hierarchical structure building, with the POd being uniquely efficient for language.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2012-06-112012-07-19
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
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 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0095
PMID: 22688638
PMC: PMC3367687
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Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 367 (1598) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 2033 - 2045 Identifier: ISSN: 0962-8436
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/963017382021_1