, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 136-140

Brain activity related to serial cognitive performance resembles circuitry of higher order motor control

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Differences between two states of cerebral activation were studied in eight subjects by positron emission tomography (PET) of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and subsequent statistical parameter mapping. Subjects had to respond to a row of numbers presented on tape. In one condition they had to repeat each number. In the other condition the last heard number had to be added to the number presented before. Cerebral activity specifically related to the serial addition task was distributed over supplementary motor area (SMA), left premotor cortex and superior dorsal parietal cortex bilaterally, without significant involvement of prefrontal cortex. This indicated circuitry related to mental performance characterised by a fixed strategy of executing serial manipulation of numbers within “internal space”. The main aim of this communication is to discuss the similarity between circuitry underlying higher order motor control and pure cognitive performance.