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Neuroreport. 2002 Dec 3;13(17):2187-91.

Superior digit memory of abacus experts: an event-related functional MRI study.

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Department of Psychology, Sophia University, 7-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0094, Japan.


Abacus experts exhibit superior short-term memory for digits, but the underlying neurophysiological mechanism remains unknown. Using event-related fMRI, we examined the brain activity of abacus experts and non-experts during the memory retention period of a delayed match-to-sample task using digits as stimuli. In controls, activity was greater in cortical areas related to verbal working memory, including Broca's area. In contrast, in experts, activity was greater in cortical areas related to visuo-spatial working memory, including the bilateral superior frontal sulcus and superior parietal lobule. This provides neurophysiological evidence that abacus experts utilize a visuo-spatial representation for digit memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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