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Curr Biol. 2015 Aug 3;25(15):1966-74. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.035. Epub 2015 Jul 23.

Representation of numerical and sequential patterns in macaque and human brains.

Author information

1
Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, INSERM, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; CEA, DSV, I2BM, NeuroSpin Center, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (MOE and STCSM), Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, 200062 Shanghai, China; NYU-ECNU Institute of Brain and Cognitive Science, NYU Shanghai, 200062 Shanghai, China. Electronic address: lipingwng@gmail.com.
2
Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, INSERM, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; CEA, DSV, I2BM, NeuroSpin Center, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; Inserm Avenir-Bettencourt-Schueller Team, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France.
3
Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, INSERM, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; CEA, DSV, I2BM, NeuroSpin Center, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; Inserm Avenir-Bettencourt-Schueller Team, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; Université Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 78000 Versailles, France; Neuromodulation Unit, Department of Neurosurgery, Foch Hospital, 92150 Suresnes, France.
4
Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, INSERM, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; CEA, DSV, I2BM, NeuroSpin Center, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France; Collège de France, 75005 Paris, France; Université Paris-Sud, 91400 Orsay, France. Electronic address: stanislas.dehaene@cea.fr.

Abstract

The ability to extract deep structures from auditory sequences is a fundamental prerequisite of language acquisition. Using fMRI in untrained macaques and humans, we investigated the brain areas involved in representing two abstract properties of a series of tones: total number of items and tone-repetition pattern. Both species represented the number of tones in intraparietal and dorsal premotor areas and the tone-repetition pattern in ventral prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia. However, we observed a joint sensitivity to both parameters only in humans, within bilateral inferior frontal and superior temporal regions. In the left hemisphere, those sites coincided with areas involved in language processing. Thus, while some abstract properties of auditory sequences are available to non-human primates, a recently evolved circuit may endow humans with a unique ability for representing linguistic and non-linguistic sequences in a unified manner.

PMID:
26212883
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2015.06.035
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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