The left intraparietal sulcus adapts to symbolic number in both the visual and auditory modalities: Evidence from fMRI

Neuroimage. 2017 Jun:153:16-27. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2017.03.048. Epub 2017 Mar 22.


A growing body of evidence from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging adaptation (fMRIa) has implicated the left intraparietal sulcus (IPS) as a crucial brain region representing the semantic of number symbols. However, it is currently unknown to what extent the left IPS brain activity can be generalized across modalities (e.g., Arabic digits and spoken number words) and how robust and reproducible numerical adaptation effects are. In two separate fMRIa experiments we habituated the brain response of 20 native English-speaking (Experiment 1) and 34 native German-speaking (Experiment 2) adults to Arabic digits or spoken number words. Consistent with previous findings, experiment 1 revealed numerical ratio dependent adaptation to Arabic numerals in the left IPS using both conventional and cortex-based alignment techniques. Experiment 2 revealed numerical ratio dependent signal recovery in the left IPS following adaptation to both Arabic numerals and spoken number words using both conventional and cortex-based alignment techniques. Together, these findings suggest that the left IPS is involved in symbolic number processing across modalities.

Keywords: Arabic numerals; Intraparietal sulcus (IPS); Number representation; Number words; Numerical ratio; fMRI adaptation.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Semantics*
  • Speech Perception / physiology
  • Young Adult