FUNCTIONAL INVESTIGATION OF THE NETWORKS AND WHITE MATTER SUBSTRATES ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROCESSING OF MATHEMATICAL OPERATIONS
Processing of mathematical operations and solving numerical tasks implicate a distributed set of brain regions. These regions include the superior and inferior parietal lobules that underlie numerical processing such as size judgments, and additional prefrontal regions that are needed for formal mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction and multiplication [Arsalidou, Taylor, 2011]. Critically, little is known about the connectivity between these regions and the association between math performance and the anatomical structure of white matter tracts. The present study investigates connectivity and white matter tracks associated with networks related to math performance: arcuate fasciculus (AF) and superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF). Participants performed a computerized task with mathematical operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) with three levels of difficulty; accuracy and reaction time were recorded. Diffusion tensor imagining (DTI) recordings provided indices on fractional anisotropy (FA) — a measure of the direction of white matter tracks in the brain. The relation between FA and math performance scores is reported.