Modulation of Parietal Activation by Semantic Distance in a Number Comparison Task
The time to compare two numbers shows additive effects of number notation and of semantic distance, suggesting that the comparison task can be decomposed into distinct stages of identification and semantic processing. Using event-related fMRI and high-density ERPs, we isolated cerebral areas where activation was influenced by input notation (verbal or Arabic notation). The bilateral extrastriate cortices and a left precentral region were more activated during verbal than during Arabic
... ng Arabic stimulation, while the right fusiform gyrus and a set of bilateral inferoparietal and frontal regions were more activated during Arabic than during verbal stimulation. We also identified areas that were influenced solely by the semantic content of the stimuli (numerical distance between numbers to be compared) independent of the input notation. Activation tightly correlated with numerical distance was observed mainly in a group of parietal areas distributed bilaterally along the intraparietal sulci and in the precuneus, as well as in the left middle temporal gyrus and posterior cingulate. Our results support the assumption of a central semantic representation of numerical quantity that relies on a common parietal network shared among notations.