Hippocampal spatial mechanisms relate to the development of arithmetic symbol processing in children

Details

Serval ID
serval:BIB_5B3EBB43BB43
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Hippocampal spatial mechanisms relate to the development of arithmetic symbol processing in children
Journal
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Author(s)
Mathieu Romain, Epinat-Duclos Justine, Léone Jessica, Fayol Michel, Thevenot Catherine, Prado Jérôme
ISSN
1878-9293
ISSN-L
1878-9293
Publication state
Published
Issued date
06/2017
Pages
NA
Language
english
Abstract
Understanding the meaning of abstract mathematical symbols is a cornerstone of arithmetic learning in children. Studies have long focused on the role of spatial intuitions in the processing of numerals. However, it has been argued that such intuitions may also underlie symbols that convey fundamental arithmetic concepts, such as arithmetic operators. In the present cross-sectional study, we used fMRI to investigate how and when associations between arithmetic operators and brain regions processing spatial information emerge in children from 3rd to 10th grade. We found that the mere perception of a ‘+’ sign elicited grade-related increases of spatial activity in the right hippocampus. That is, merely perceiving ‘+’ signs – without any operands – elicited enhanced hippocampal activity after around 7th grade (12–13 years old). In these children, hippocampal activity in response to a ‘+’ sign was further correlated with the degree to which calculation performance was facilitated by the preview of that sign before an addition problem, an effect termed operator-priming. Grade-related increases of hippocampal spatial activity were operation-specific because they were not observed with ‘×’ signs, which might evoke rote retrieval rather than numerical manipulation. Our study raises the possibility that hippocampal spatial mechanisms help build associations between some arithmetic operators and space throughout age and/or education.
Keywords
Cognitive Neuroscience
Pubmed
Open Access
Yes
Create date
12/01/2018 14:15
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:14
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