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  Mathematical expertise modulates the architecture of dorsal and cortico-thalamic white matter tracts

Jeon, H.-A., Kuhl, U., & Friederici, A. D. (2019). Mathematical expertise modulates the architecture of dorsal and cortico-thalamic white matter tracts. Scientific Reports, 9: 6825. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-43400-6.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-9CFD-1 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0003-B31F-1
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Jeon, Hyeon-Ae 1, Author
Kuhl, Ulrike2, Author              
Friederici, Angela D.2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Daegu, Korea, ou_persistent22              
2Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634551              

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 Abstract: To what extent are levels of cognitive expertise reflected in differential structural connectivity of the brain? We addressed this question by analyzing the white matter brain structure of experts (mathematicians) versus non-experts (non-mathematicians) using probabilistic tractography. Having mathematicians and non-mathematicians as participant groups enabled us to directly compare profiles of structural connectivity arising from individual levels of expertise in mathematics. Tracking from functional seed regions activated during the processing of complex arithmetic formulas revealed an involvement of various fiber bundles such the inferior fronto-occipital fascicle, arcuate fasciculus/superior longitudinal fasciculus (AF/SLF), cross-hemispheric connections of frontal lobe areas through the corpus callosum and cortico-subcortical connectivity via the bilateral thalamic radiation. With the aim of investigating expertise-dependent structural connectivity, the streamline density was correlated with the level of expertise, defined by automaticity of processing complex mathematics. The results showed that structural integrity of the AF/SLF was higher in individuals with higher automaticity, while stronger cortico-thalamic connectivity was associated with lower levels of automaticity. Therefore, we suggest that expertise in the domain of mathematics is reflected in plastic changes of the brain’s white matter structure, possibly reflecting a general principle of cognitive expertise.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-11-022019-04-232019-05-02
 Publication Status: Published online
 Pages: -
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-43400-6
PMID: 31048754
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Grant ID : NRF-2017R1A2B2006420
Funding program : Basic Science Research Program
Funding organization : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Ministry of Education

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Title: Scientific Reports
  Abbreviation : Sci. Rep.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London, UK : Nature Publishing Group
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 9 Sequence Number: 6825 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 2045-2322
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/2045-2322