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Prog Brain Res. 2016;227:159-86. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2016.04.026. Epub 2016 Jun 10.

Memory and cognitive control circuits in mathematical cognition and learning.

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Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, Palo Alto, CA. Electronic address:


Numerical cognition relies on interactions within and between multiple functional brain systems, including those subserving quantity processing, working memory, declarative memory, and cognitive control. This chapter describes recent advances in our understanding of memory and control circuits in mathematical cognition and learning. The working memory system involves multiple parietal-frontal circuits which create short-term representations that allow manipulation of discrete quantities over several seconds. In contrast, hippocampal-frontal circuits underlying the declarative memory system play an important role in formation of associative memories and binding of new and old information, leading to the formation of long-term memories that allow generalization beyond individual problem attributes. The flow of information across these systems is regulated by flexible cognitive control systems which facilitate the integration and manipulation of quantity and mnemonic information. The implications of recent research for formulating a more comprehensive systems neuroscience view of the neural basis of mathematical learning and knowledge acquisition in both children and adults are discussed.


Circuits; Cognitive; Control; Function; Hippocampus; Memory; Numerical; Parietal; Prefrontal; Problem solving

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