Mathematical cognitive style and arithmetic sign comprehension: A study of EEG alpha and theta activity

  • Earle J
  • Garcia-Dergay P
  • Manniello A
 et al. 
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Abstract

The localization of arithmetic sign comprehension was investigated using EEG spectral parameters as indicators of cortical engagement. Right-handed male subjects were selected on the basis of scores on the Mathematics Cognitive Style Survey and assigned to 2 groups, a 'left hemisphere oriented (LHO)' (N = 9) and 'right hemisphere oriented (RHO)' (N = 9) group. Subjects were presented with 4 conditions, a motoric baseline condition, two arithmetic fact retrieval tasks employing either a sign operator or verbal operator and a sign comprehension task which required subjects to fill in a missing sign (e.g. 6 ? 4 = 24). Both across subject correlational analysis of EEG alpha 1 asymmetry and performance as well as within subject analysis of condition means indicated a somewhat unique contribution of the right hemisphere to sign comprehension. LHO subjects exhibited greater relative left mid-temporal lobe activation than RHO subjects but less relative left frontal activation (theta band) than RHO subjects during the verbal operator task. It was tentatively concluded that this frontal lobe asymmetry difference was due to a mismatch in strategy preference and coding requirements among RHO subjects.

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Authors

  • Jonathan B.B. Earle

  • Patricia Garcia-Dergay

  • Anthony Manniello

  • Christopher Dowd

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