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Comparison of quantities: core and format-dependent regions as revealed by fMRI

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Chassy, P., & Grodd, W. (2012). Comparison of quantities: core and format-dependent regions as revealed by fMRI. Cerebral Cortex, 22(6), 1420-1430. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhr219.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-87FE-9
Abstract
The perception and handling of numbers is central to education. Numerous imaging studies have focused on how quantities are encoded in the brain. Yet, only a few studies have touched upon number mining: the ability to extract the magnitude encoded in a visual stimulus. This article aims to characterize how analogue (i.e., disks and dots) and symbolic (i.e., positive and negative integers) formats influence number mining and the representation of quantities. Sixteen adult volunteers completed a comparison task while we recorded the blood oxygen level–dependent response using functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results revealed that a restricted set of specific subdivisions in the right intraparietal sulcus is activated in all conditions. With respect to magnitude assessment, the results show that 1) analogue stimuli are predominantly processed in the right hemisphere and that 2) symbolic stimuli encompass the analogue system and further recruit areas in the left hemisphere. Crucially, we found that polarity is encoded independently from magnitude. We refine the triple-code model by integrating our findings.