Neuro-anatomical correlates of a number bisection bias: A neuropsychological voxel-based morphometry study☆
A right-neglect patient with focal left-hemisphere damage to the posterior superior parietal lobe was assessed for numerical knowledge and tested on the bisection of numerical intervals and visual lines. The semantic and verbal knowledge of numbers was preserved, whereas the performance in numerical tasks that strongly emphasize the visuo-spatial layout of numbers (e.g. number bisection) was impaired. The behavioral pattern of error in the two bisection tasks mirrored the one previously described in left-neglect patients. In other words, our patient misplaced the subjective midpoint (numerical or visual) to the left as function of the interval size. These data, paired with the patient's lesion site are strictly consistent with the tripartite organization of number-related processes in the parietal lobes as proposed by Dehaene and colleagues. According to these authors, the posterior superior parietal lobe on both hemispheres underpins the attentional orientation on the putative mental number line, the horizontal segment of the intraparietal sulcus is bilaterally related to the semantic of the numerical domain, whereas the left angular gyrus subserves the verbal knowledge of numbers. In summary, our results suggest that the processes involved in the navigation along the mental number line, which are related to the parietal mechanisms for spatial attention, and the processes involved in the semantic and verbal knowledge of numbers, are dissociable.