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EEG correlation during the solving of simple and complex logical–mathematical problems

Authors
  • Molina del Río, Jahaziel1, 2
  • Guevara, Miguel Angel2
  • Hernández González, Marisela2
  • Hidalgo Aguirre, Rosa María1, 2
  • Cruz Aguilar, Manuel Alejandro3
  • 1 Universidad de Guadalajara, Carretera Guadalajara-Ameca Km. 45.5, Ameca, Jalisco, C.P. 46600, México , Ameca (Mexico)
  • 2 Universidad de Guadalajara, Francisco de Quevedo, 180. Col. Arcos-Vallarta, Guadalajara, Jalisco, C.P. 44130, México , Guadalajara (Mexico)
  • 3 Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría “Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz”, Mexico City, México , Mexico City (Mexico)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Feb 21, 2019
Volume
19
Issue
4
Pages
1036–1046
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3758/s13415-019-00703-5
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

Solving logical–mathematical word problems is a complex task that requires numerous cognitive operations, including comprehension, reasoning, and calculation. These abilities have been associated with activation of the parietal, temporal, and prefrontal cortices. It has been suggested that the reasoning involved in solving logical–mathematical problems requires the coordinated functionality of all these cortical areas. In this study was evaluated the activation and electroencephalographic (EEG) correlation of the prefrontal, temporal, and parietal regions in young men while solving logical–mathematical word problems with two degrees of difficulty: simple and complex. During the solving of complex problems, higher absolute power and EEG correlation of the alpha and fast bands between the left frontal and parietal cortices were observed. A temporal deactivation and functional decoupling of the right parietal-temporal cortices also were obtained. Solving complex problems probably require activation of a left prefrontal-parietal circuit to maintain and manipulate multiple pieces of information. The temporal deactivation and decreased parietal-temporal correlation could be associated to text processing and suppression of the content-dependent reasoning to focus cognitive resources on the mathematical reasoning. Together, these findings support a pivotal role for the left prefrontal and parietal cortices in mathematical reasoning and of the temporal regions in text processing required to understand and solve written mathematical problems.

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