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Publication Detail
Dexterity with Numbers: rTMS Over Left Angular Gyrus Disrupts Finger Gnosis and Number Processing
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Article
  • Authors:
    Rusconi E, Walsh V, Butterworth B
  • Publication date:
    2005
  • Pagination:
    pp.1609, 1624
  • Journal:
    Neuropsychologia
  • Volume:
    43
  • Issue:
    11
  • Print ISSN:
    0028-3932
  • Notes:
    Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 16th May 2007
Abstract
Since the original description of Gerstmann's syndrome with its four cardinal symptoms, among which are finger agnosia and acalculia, the neuro-cognitive relationship between fingers and calculation has been debated. We asked our participants to perform four different tasks, two of which involved fingers and the other two involving numbers, during repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the posterior parietal lobe of either hemisphere. In the finger tasks, they were required to transform a tactile stimulus randomly delivered on one of their fingers into a speeded key-press response either with the same or with the homologous finger on the opposite hand. In the numerical tasks, they were asked to perform a magnitude or a parity matching on pairs of single digits, in the context of arithmetically related or unrelated numerical primes. In accordance with the original anatomical hypothesis put forward by Gerstmann [Gerstmann, J. (1924). Fingeragnosie: eine umschriebene Stoerung der Orienterung am eigenen Koerper. Wiener clinische Wochenschrift, 37, 1010?12], we found that rTMS over the left angular gyrus disrupted tasks requiring access to the finger schema and number magnitude processing in the same group of participants. In addition to the numerous studies which have employed special populations such as neurological patients and children, our data confirm the presence of a relationship between numbers and body knowledge in skilled adults who no longer use their fingers for solving simple arithmetical tasks. Since the original description of Gerstmann's syndrome with its four cardinal symptoms, among which are finger agnosia and acalculia, the neuro-cognitive relationship between fingers and calculation has been debated. We asked our participants to perform four different tasks, two of which involved fingers and the other two involving numbers, during repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) over the posterior parietal lobe of either hemisphere. In the finger tasks, they were required to transform a tactile stimulus randomly delivered on one of their fingers into a speeded key-press response either with the same or with the homologous finger on the opposite hand. In the numerical tasks, they were asked to perform a magnitude or a parity matching on pairs of single digits, in the context of arithmetically related or unrelated numerical primes. In accordance with the original anatomical hypothesis put forward by Gerstmann [Gerstmann, J. (1924). Fingeragnosie: eine umschriebene Stoerung der Orienterung am eigenen Koerper. Wiener clinische Wochenschrift, 37, 1010?12], we found that rTMS over the left angular gyrus disrupted tasks requiring access to the finger schema and number magnitude processing in the same group of participants. In addition to the numerous studies which have employed special populations such as neurological patients and children, our data confirm the presence of a relationship between numbers and body knowledge in skilled adults who no longer use their fingers for solving simple arithmetical tasks.
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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
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