The functions and dysfunctions of the parietal lobes are often the most difficult of the four cerebral lobes for a student to understand when learning about brain-behavior relations. This month's issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience includes free full-text access to a review paper about some of these parietal functions; it is a reasonably good (albeit technical) read.
(By the way, this issue of the journal also includes a poster-sized .pdf graphic of aspects of post-synaptic functioning.)
Edward M. Hubbard, Manuela Piazza, Philippe Pinel, & Stanislas Dehaene. Interactions between number and space in parietal cortex. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. 2005; 6, 435-448 [doi:10.1038/nrn1684]
Inserm Unit 562 'Cognitive Neuroimaging' Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, 4 place du Général Leclerc, F94101 Orsay, France.
Since the time of Pythagoras, numerical and spatial representations have been inextricably linked. We suggest that the relationship between the two is deeply rooted in the brain's organization for these capacities. Many behavioural and patient studies have shown that numerical–spatial interactions run far deeper than simply cultural constructions, and, instead, influence behaviour at several levels. By combining two previously independent lines of research, neuroimaging studies of numerical cognition in humans, and physiological studies of spatial cognition in monkeys, we propose that these numerical–spatial interactions arise from common parietal circuits for attention to external space and internal representations of numbers.
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Anthony H. Risser | neuroscience | neuropsychology | brain