Double dissociation of format-dependent and number-specific neurons in human parietal cortex.
Cohen Kadosh R., Muggleton N., Silvanto J., Walsh V.
Based on neuroimaging methods, it is a commonly held view that numerical representation in the human parietal lobes is format independent. We used a transcranial magnetic stimulation adaptation paradigm to examine the existence of functionally segregated overlapping populations of neurons for different numerical formats and to reveal how numerical information is encoded and represented. Based on 2 experiments, we found that right parietal lobe stimulation showed a dissociation between digits and verbal numbers, whereas the left parietal lobe showed a double dissociation between the different numerical formats. Further analysis and modeling also excluded pre- or postrepresentational components as the source of the current effects. These results demonstrate that both parietal lobes are equipped with format-dependent neurons that encode quantity.