Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
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Understanding the constraints, including biological ones, that may influence mathematical development is of great importance because math ability is a key predictor of career success, income and even psychological well-being. While research in developmental cognitive neuroscience of mathematics has extensively studied the key functional regions for processing numbers, particularly the horizontal segment of intraparietal sulcus (HIPS), few studies have investigated the effects of early cerebral constraints on later mathematical abilities. In this pre-registered study, we investigated whether variability of the sulcal pattern of the HIPS, a qualitative feature of the brain determined in-utero and not affected by brain maturation and learning, accounts for individual difference in symbolic and non-symbolic number abilities. Seventy-seven typically developing school-aged children and 21 young adults participated in our study. We found that the HIPS sulcal pattern, (a) explains part of the variance in participant's symbolic number comparison and math fluency abilities, and (b) that this association between HIPS sulcal pattern and symbolic number abilities was found to be stable from childhood to young adulthood. However, (c) we did not find an association between participant's non-symbolic number abilities and HIPS sulcal morphology. Our findings suggest that early cerebral constraints may influence individual difference in math abilities, in addition to the well-established neuroplastic factors.