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Neuron. 2007 Oct 25;56(2):384-98.

Cultural recycling of cortical maps.

Author information

1
INSERM, Cognitive Neuro-imaging Unit, IFR 49, Gif sur Yvette, France. stanislas.dehaene@cea.fr

Abstract

Part of human cortex is specialized for cultural domains such as reading and arithmetic, whose invention is too recent to have influenced the evolution of our species. Representations of letter strings and of numbers occupy reproducible locations within large-scale macromaps, respectively in the left occipito-temporal and bilateral intraparietal cortex. Furthermore, recent fMRI studies reveal a systematic architecture within these areas. To explain this paradoxical cerebral invariance of cultural maps, we propose a neuronal recycling hypothesis, according to which cultural inventions invade evolutionarily older brain circuits and inherit many of their structural constraints.

PMID:
17964253
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2007.10.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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