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Discrete and analogue quantity processing in the parietal lobe: A functional MRI study

Castelli, F; Glaser, DE; Butterworth, B; (2006) Discrete and analogue quantity processing in the parietal lobe: A functional MRI study. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 103 (12) 4693 - 4698. 10.1073/pnas.0600444103.

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Abstract

The human intraparietal sulcus (IPS) is implicated in processing symbolic number information and possibly in nonsymbolic number information. Specific IPS activity for discrete quantities (numerosities) as compared with continuous, analogue quantity has not been demonstrated. Here we use a stimulus-driven paradigm to distinguish automatic estimation of "how many things" from "how much" and "how long." The discrete analogue response task (DART) uses the perception of hues which can change either abruptly (discrete, numerous stimuli) or smoothly (analogue, non-numerous stimuli) in space or in time. Subjects decide whether they saw more green or more blue. A conjunction analysis of spatial and temporal conditions revealed that bilateral IPS was significantly more active during the processing of discrete stimuli than during analogue stimuli, as was a parietal-occipital transition zone. We suggest that processing numerosity is a distinct process from processing analogue quantity, whether extended in space or time, and that an intraparietal network connects objects' segmentation to the estimation of their numerosity. © 2006 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Type:Article
Title:Discrete and analogue quantity processing in the parietal lobe: A functional MRI study
DOI:10.1073/pnas.0600444103
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

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