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Nat Commun. 2013;4:2528. doi: 10.1038/ncomms3528.

Numerical processing in the human parietal cortex during experimental and natural conditions.

Author information

1] Laboratory of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology (LBCN), Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford Human Intracranial Cognitive Electrophysiology Program (SHICEP), Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Drive, Room A343, Stanford, California 94305, USA [2].


Human cognition is traditionally studied in experimental conditions wherein confounding complexities of the natural environment are intentionally eliminated. Thus, it remains unknown how a brain region involved in a particular experimental condition is engaged in natural conditions. Here we use electrocorticography to address this uncertainty in three participants implanted with intracranial electrodes and identify activations of neuronal populations within the intraparietal sulcus region during an experimental arithmetic condition. In a subsequent analysis, we report that the same intraparietal sulcus neural populations are activated when participants, engaged in social conversations, refer to objects with numerical content. Our prototype approach provides a means for both exploring human brain dynamics as they unfold in complex social settings and reconstructing natural experiences from recorded brain signals.

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