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Agrammatic but numerate

Varley, R.A., Klessinger, N.J.C., Romanowski, C.A.J. and Siegal, M. (2005) Agrammatic but numerate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102 (9). pp. 3519-3524. ISSN 1091-6490

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Abstract

A central question in cognitive neuroscience concerns the extent to which language enables other higher cognitive functions. In the case of mathematics, the resources of the language faculty, both lexical and syntactic, have been claimed to be important for exact calculation, and some functional brain imaging studies have shown that calculation is associated with activation of a network of left-hemisphere language regions, such as the angular gyrus and the banks of the intraparietal sulcus. We investigate the integrity of mathematical calculations in three men with large left-hemisphere perisylvian lesions. Despite severe grammatical impairment and some difficulty in processing phonological and orthographic number words, all basic computational procedures were intact across patients. All three patients solved mathematical problems involving recursiveness and structure-dependent operations (for example, in generating solutions to bracket equations). To our knowledge, these results demonstrate for the first time the remarkable independence of mathematical calculations from language grammar in the mature cognitive system.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: Copyright © 2005 by the National Academy of Sciences.
Keywords: aphasia, language, mathematics
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Sheffield) > Department of Human Communication Sciences (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2005
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2014 19:16
Published Version: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/short/102/9/3519
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1073/pnas.0407470102
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/337

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