ERIC Number: EJ1050916
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Continuity and Change in Children's Longitudinal Neural Responses to Numbers
Emerson, Robert W.; Cantlon, Jessica F.
Developmental Science, v18 n2 p314-326 Mar 2015
Human children possess the ability to approximate numerical quantity nonverbally from a young age. Over the course of early childhood, children develop increasingly precise representations of numerical values, including a symbolic number system that allows them to conceive of numerical information as Arabic numerals or number words. Functional brain imaging studies of adults report that activity in bilateral regions of the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) represents a key neural correlate of numerical cognition. Developmental neuroimaging studies indicate that the right IPS develops its number-related neural response profile more rapidly than the left IPS during early childhood. One prediction that can be derived from previous findings is that there is longitudinal continuity in the number-related neural responses of the right IPS over development while the development of the left IPS depends on the acquisition of numerical skills. We tested this hypothesis using fMRI in a longitudinal design with children ages 4 to 9. We found that neural responses in the right IPS are correlated over a 1-2-year period in young children whereas left IPS responses change systematically as a function of children's numerical discrimination acuity. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that functional properties of the right IPS in numerical processing are stable over early childhood whereas the functions of the left IPS are dynamically modulated by the development of numerical skills.
Descriptors: Longitudinal Studies, Number Concepts, Numbers, Neuropsychology, Brain Hemisphere Functions, Hypothesis Testing, Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Psychology, Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Correlation
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: R01 HD064636