Mental representation of number in different numerical forms

A Plodowski, Rachel Swainson, G M Jackson, C Rorden, S R Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


How are numerical operations implemented within the human brain? It has been suggested that there are at least three different codes for representing number: a verbal code that is used to manipulate number words and perform mental numerical operations (e.g., multiplication), a visual code that is used to decode frequently used visual number forms (e.g., Arabic digits), and an abstract analog code that may be used to represent numerical quantities [1]. Furthermore, each of these codes is associated with a different neural substrate [1-3]. We extend these studies using dense-sensor event-related EEG recording techniques to investigate the temporal pattern of notation-specific effects observed in a parity judgement (odd versus even) task in which single numbers were presented in one of four different numerical notations. Contrasts between different notations demonstrated clear modulations in the visual evoked potentials (VEP) recorded. We observed increased amplitudes for the P1 and N1 components of the VEP that were specific to Arabic numerals and to dot configurations but differed for random and recognizable (die-face) dot configurations. These results demonstrate clear, notation-specific differences in the time course of numerical information processing and provide electrophysiological support for the triple-code model of numerical representation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2045-2050
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2003


  • potentials


Dive into the research topics of 'Mental representation of number in different numerical forms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this