How does the brain represent number and perform mathematical calculations? According to a recent and provocative study by Tang and colleagues, it depends on which language you learn. They found that the divergent linguistic and cultural experiences of native Chinese and native English speakers are associated with distinct patterns of brain activity during mathematical processing. Their results raise important questions about the cognitive and neural specificity of cultural influences on mathematical processes and the core nature of mathematical cognition. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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