The Relation between Finger Gnosis and Mathematical Ability: Can we Attribute Function to Cortical Structure with Cross-Domain Modeling?


This paper details and applies a novel method for assigning function to local cortical structure. Imaging results from multiple cognitive domains were used to investigate what a shared neural substrate could be contributing to two apparently different domains: finger and number representation. We identified a region within the left precentral gyrus contributing to both tasks; identified, across several cognitive domains, other cognitive uses to which the ROI may have been put; and looked across these cognitive uses to ascertain the functional contribution of the ROI. The result of this process is a proposed local working—an array of pointers—that can be tested empirically and will allow for further elaboration of the redeployment view of the relation between finger and number representations. This work is significant for understanding the relationship between finger gnosis and math, and for introducing cross-domain modeling as a new empirical method.

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