Different Neural Mechanisms for the Comparison and Priming Distance Effects: An fMRI Study

Front Psychol. 2016 Oct 26:7:1633. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01633. eCollection 2016.


Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, the present study examined whether the comparison distance effect (CDE) and the priming distance effect (PDE) in number processing had the same underlying neural mechanisms. 24 healthy participants completed a number comparison task and a number priming task in the scanner. Imaging data were examined for brain regions selected based on a meta-analysis of previous studies of number processing. Results revealed robust CDE and PDE at both behavioral and neural levels. The CDE had a significant hemodynamic signature in the right parietal cortex but not in the left parietal cortex, although a direct test of this hemispheric laterality did not reach statistical significance. In contrast, the PDE showed significant left-hemisphere laterality with a significant hemodynamic signature in the left parietal cortex but not in the right parietal cortex. These results suggested that the CDE and PDE had different underlying neural mechanisms.

Keywords: comparison distance effect; distance effect; fMRI; meta-analysis; priming distance effect.