Abstract

Numbers are known to be processed along the left and right intraparietal sulcus. The present study investigated hemispheric differences between the magnitude representation of small and large symbolic numbers. To this purpose, an fMRI adaptation paradigm was used, where the continuous presentation of a habituation number was interrupted by an occasional deviant number. The results presented a distance-dependent increase of activation: larger ratios of habituation and deviant number caused a larger recovery of activation. Similar activation patterns were observed for small and large symbolic numbers, which is in line with the idea of a more coarse magnitude representation for large numbers. Interestingly, this pattern of activation was only observed in the left parietal cortex, supporting the recently proposed idea of Ansari [Ansari, D. Does the parietal cortex distinguish between “10”, “Ten,” and Ten Dots? Neuron, 53, 165–167, 2007] that the left parietal cortex is specialized in the processing of encultured symbolically presented numbers.

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