Randolph E. Schmid of the AP, in Wired News:
Things add up differently for native English speakers compared with people who learned Chinese as a first language.
Simple arithmetic was easily done by both groups, but they used different parts of the brain, a new study shows.
Researchers used brain imaging to see which parts of the brain were active while people did simple addition problems, such as 3 plus 4 equals 7. All participants were working with Arabic numerals which are used in both cultures.
Both groups engaged a portion of the brain called the inferior parietal cortex, which is involved in quantity representation and reading.
But native English speakers also showed activity in a language processing area of the brain, while native Chinese speakers used a brain region involved in the processing of visual information, according to the report in Tuesday’s issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.