Inter-Parietal White Matter Development Predicts Numerical Performance in Young Children.


In an effort to understand the role of interhemispheric transfer in numerical development, we investigated the relationship between children's developing knowledge of numbers and the integrity of their white matter connections between the cerebral hemispheres (the corpus callosum). We used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography analyses to test the link between the development of the corpus callosum and performance on symbolic and non-symbolic numerical judgment tasks. We were especially interested in the interhemispheric connections of parietal cortex in 6-year-old children, because regions of parietal cortex have been implicated in the development of numerical skills by several prior studies. Our results revealed significant structural differences between children and adults in the fibers of the corpus callosum connecting the left and right parietal lobes. Importantly, these structural differences were predictive of individual differences among children in performance on numerical judgment tasks: children with poor numerical performance relative to their peers exhibited reduced white matter coherence in the fibers passing through the isthmus of the corpus callosum, which connects the parietal hemispheres.






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Publication Info

Cantlon, Jessica F, Simon W Davis, Melissa E Libertus, Jill Kahane, Elizabeth M Brannon and Kevin A Pelphrey (2011). Inter-Parietal White Matter Development Predicts Numerical Performance in Young Children. Learn Individ Differ, 21(6). pp. 672–680. 10.1016/j.lindif.2011.09.003 Retrieved from

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