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Dissociation of subtraction and multiplication in the right parietal cortex: evidence from intraoperative cortical electrostimulation.


Previous research has consistently shown that the left parietal cortex is critical for numerical processing, but the role of the right parietal lobe has been much less clear. This study used the intraoperative cortical electrical stimulation approach to investigate neural dissociation in the right parietal cortex for subtraction and multiplication. Results showed that multiplication (as well as picture naming) was not affected by the cortical electrical stimulation on all the targeted sites of the right parietal cortex as well as those of the right temporal cortex. In contrast, stimulation at three right parietal sites (two sites in the right inferior parietal lobule and one in the right angular gyrus) impaired performance on simple subtraction problems. This study provided the first evidence from an intraoperative cortical electrical stimulation study to show the dissociation of arithmetic operations in the right parietal cortex. This dissociation between subtraction and multiplication suggests that the right parietal cortex plays a more significant role in quantity processing (subtraction) than in verbal processing (multiplication) in numerical processing.

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