9.13 | Spring 2019 | Undergraduate

The Human Brain


Assignment 6

Article: Knops, A., B. Thirion, et al. “Recruitment of an Area Involved in Eye Movements During Mental Arithmetic.” Science 324, no. 5934 (2009): 1583–85. DOI: 10.1126/science.1171599

Assignment: Read the assigned article carefully and think about it, then provide short answers to the questions below. You can do this by responding straight on this document or by submitting a separate document with numbered answers. Be clear and concise—points will be taken off for unnecessary words.

  1. What is the central empirical claim of the paper in a single sentence?
  2. Is the data in this paper consistent with the idea that a brain region exists that is specifically engaged in processing number and arithmetic only? Why or why not.
  3. What is the contrast that Knops et al. used to identify the standard brain regions engaged in saccades (eye movements)? Is this contrast a minimal pair? Is that important for this study?
  4. Can you think of a more general version of Knops et al.’s hypothesis, that applies not just to eye movements but to any rightward versus leftward movement? How might you test this hypothesis using motor cortex? What would the key prediciton be?

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