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Neuroimage. 2016 Dec;143:304-315. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.08.048. Epub 2016 Aug 23.

Functional neuroanatomy of arithmetic and word reading and its relationship to age.

Author information

1
Center for the Study of Learning, Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Suite150 Building D, 4000 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20057, USA.
2
Center for the Study of Learning, Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center, Suite150 Building D, 4000 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC 20057, USA. Electronic address: edeng@georgetown.edu.

Abstract

Arithmetic and written language are uniquely human skills acquired during early schooling and used daily. While prior studies have independently characterized the neural bases for arithmetic and reading, here we examine both skills in a single study to capture their shared and unique cognitive mechanisms, as well as the role of age/experience in modulating their neural representations. We used functional MRI in 7- to 29-year-olds who performed single-digit subtraction, single-digit addition, and single-word reading. Using a factorial design, we examined the main effects of Task (subtraction, addition, reading) and Age (as a continuous variable), and their interactions. A main effect of Task revealed preferential activation for subtraction in bilateral intraparietal sulci and supramarginal gyri, right insula, inferior frontal gyrus, and cingulate. The right middle temporal gyrus and left superior temporal gyrus were preferentially active for both addition and reading, and left fusiform gyrus was preferentially active for reading. A main effect of Age revealed increased activity in older participants in right angular gyrus, superior temporal sulcus, and putamen, and less activity in left supplementary motor area, suggesting a left frontal to right temporo-parietal shift of activity with increasing age/experience across all tasks. Interactions for Task by Age were found in right hippocampus and left middle frontal gyrus, with older age invoking greater activity for addition and at the same time less activity for subtraction and reading. Together, in a study conducted in the same participants using similar task and acquisition parameters, the results reveal the neural substrates of these educationally relevant cognitive skills in typical participants in the context of age/experience.

KEYWORDS:

Addition; Arithmetic; Development; Language; Reading; Subtraction

PMID:
27566261
PMCID:
PMC5124535
[Available on 2017-12-01]
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.08.048
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