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Asymmetric prefrontal cortex functions predict asymmetries in number space


Bachmann, V; Fischer, M H; Landolt, H P; Brugger, P (2010). Asymmetric prefrontal cortex functions predict asymmetries in number space. Brain and Cognition, 74(3):306-311.

Abstract

Little is known about the neuropsychological factors that contribute to individual differences in the asymmetric orientation along the mental number line. The present study documents healthy subjects' preference for small numbers over large numbers in a random number generation task. This preference, referred to as "small-number bias" (SNB), varied with prefrontal functional lateralization: it was larger in participants with over-proportionately better performance in design fluency compared to letter fluency than in participants with over-proportionately better performance in letter fluency when compared to design fluency. Asymmetries in learning and memory tasks (verbal vs. non-verbal) were not related to direction or size of the SNB. We conclude that hemispheric asymmetries of specifically prefrontal executive functions are predictive of an individual's lateral orientation bias along the mental number line. Therefore, the focus on parietal contributions to spatial-numerical associations may not be justified. Random number generation may be a helpful method to further explore these associations uncontaminated by the asymmetric involvement of response effectors.

Abstract

Little is known about the neuropsychological factors that contribute to individual differences in the asymmetric orientation along the mental number line. The present study documents healthy subjects' preference for small numbers over large numbers in a random number generation task. This preference, referred to as "small-number bias" (SNB), varied with prefrontal functional lateralization: it was larger in participants with over-proportionately better performance in design fluency compared to letter fluency than in participants with over-proportionately better performance in letter fluency when compared to design fluency. Asymmetries in learning and memory tasks (verbal vs. non-verbal) were not related to direction or size of the SNB. We conclude that hemispheric asymmetries of specifically prefrontal executive functions are predictive of an individual's lateral orientation bias along the mental number line. Therefore, the focus on parietal contributions to spatial-numerical associations may not be justified. Random number generation may be a helpful method to further explore these associations uncontaminated by the asymmetric involvement of response effectors.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology

04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:December 2010
Deposited On:10 Jan 2011 09:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:25
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0278-2626
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bandc.2010.08.011
PubMed ID:20864241

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