Monday, July 23, 2007

Math and neuroscience   posted by Razib @ 7/23/2007 03:59:00 PM

I'm assuming that readers who know some neuroscience can make more sense of this paper, Monotonic Coding of Numerosity in Macaque Lateral Intraparietal Area (Neurons for Numerosity: As Quantities Increase, So Does the Neuronal Response, a summary for the general public). But this part of the abstract is what caught my eye:
The responses of these neurons resemble the outputs of "accumulator neurons" postulated in computational models of number processing. Numerical accumulator neurons may provide inputs to neurons encoding specific cardinal values, such as "4," that have been described in previous work. Our findings may explain the frequent association of visuospatial and numerical deficits following damage to parietal cortex in humans.

I'm sure most of you know know in psychometrics there is a correlation between visuospatial & mathematical aptitude. There is one group though which decouples these two traits: Ashkenazi Jews (who are weak on visuospatial tests in relation to their mathematical aptitude).