Influence of cognitive strategies on the pattern of cortical activation during mental subtraction. A functional imaging study in human subjects

Neurosci Lett. 2000 Jun 16;287(1):76-80. doi: 10.1016/s0304-3940(00)01099-5.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 1.5 T was used to investigate the influence of cognitive strategies on cortical activation during mental calculation. Twenty-nine right-handed subjects performed a serial subtraction of prime numbers. Even though a common corpus of brain areas was activated during this mental calculation, differences appeared between subjects in function of their spontaneous cognitive strategy. In subjects using a so called verbal strategy (n=15), the main activation was located in the whole left dorsolateral frontal cortex with a little activation of the inferior parietal cortex. In subjects using a so called visual strategy (n=14), a bilateral activation in the prefrontal cortex and a high activation in the left inferior parietal cortex were observed. These results demonstrate that numbers are processed through a distributed network of cortical areas, the lateralization of which is clearly influenced by subject strategy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology