The neural association between arithmetic and basic numerical processing depends on arithmetic problem size and not chronological age
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
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© 2019 The Authors The intraparietal sulcus (IPS) is thought to be an important region for basic number processing (e.g. symbol-quantity associations) and arithmetic (e.g. addition). Evidence for shared circuitry within the IPS is largely based on comparisons across studies, and little research has investigated number processing and arithmetic in the same individuals. It is also unclear how the neural overlap between number processing and arithmetic is influenced by age and arithmetic problem difficulty. This study investigated these unresolved questions by examining basic number processing (symbol-quantity matching) and arithmetic (addition) networks in 26 adults and 42 children. Number processing and arithmetic elicited overlapping activity in the IPS in children and adults, however, the overlap was influenced by arithmetic problem size (i.e. which modulated the need to use procedural strategies). The IPS was recruited for number processing, and for arithmetic problems more likely to be solved using procedural strategies. We also found that the overlap between number processing and small-problem addition in children was comparable to the overlap between number processing and large-problem addition in adults. This finding suggests that the association between number processing and arithmetic in the IPS is related to the cognitive operation being performed rather than age.
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© 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license.