Center Papers

Different language modalities, yet similar cognitive processes in arithmetic fact retrieval

Berteletti, I., Kimbley, S. E., Sullivan, S., Quandt, L. C., & Miyakoshi, M. (2021, October 9). Different language modalities, yet similar cognitive processes in arithmetic fact retrieval. DOI: 10.31234/

Does experience with signed language impact the neurocognitive processes recruited by adults solving arithmetic problems? We use event-related potentials (ERPs) to identify the components that are modulated by operation type and problem size in Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) native signers and in hearing English-speaking participants. Participants were presented with single-digit subtraction and multiplication problems in a delayed verification task. Problem size was manipulated in small and large problems with an additional extra-large subtraction condition to equate the overall magnitude of large multiplication problems. Results show comparable behavioral results and similar ERP dissociations across groups. First, an early operation type effect is observed around 200ms post problem onset, suggesting that both groups have a similar attentional differentiation for processing subtraction and multiplication problems. Second, for the posterior-occipital component between 240ms and 300ms, subtraction problems show a similar modulation with problem size in both groups suggesting that only subtraction problems recruit quantity-related processes. Control analyses exclude possible perceptual and cross-operation magnitude-related effects. These results are the first evidence that the two operation types rely on distinct cognitive processes within the ASL native signing population and that they are equivalent to those observed in the English-speaking population.