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See detailThe non-linear development of the right hemispheric specialization for human face perception
Lochy, Aliette UL; de Heering, Adelaïde; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2019), 126

The developmental origins of human adults’ right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception ... [more ▼]

The developmental origins of human adults’ right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception. On the other hand, it has been proposed that the adult right hemispheric lateralization for face perception slowly emerges during childhood due to reading acquisition, which increases left lateralized posterior responses to competing written material (e.g., visual letters and words). Since methodological approaches used in infant and children typically differ when their face capabilities are explored, resolving this issue has been difficult. Here we tested 5- year-old preschoolers varying in their level of visual letter knowledge with the same fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) paradigm leading to strongly right lateralized electrophysiological occipito-temporal face-selective responses in 4- to 6-month-old infants (de Heering and Rossion, 2015). Children's face-selective response was quantitatively larger and differed in scalp topography from infants’, but did not differ across hemispheres. There was a small positive correlation between preschoolers’ letter knowledge and a non-normalized index of right hemispheric specialization for faces. These observations show that previous discrepant results in the literature reflect a genuine nonlinear development of the neural processes underlying face perception and are not merely due to methodological differences across age groups. We discuss several factors that could contribute to the adult right hemispheric lateralization for faces, such as myelination of the corpus callosum and reading acquisition. Our findings point to the value of FPVS coupled with electroencephalography to assess specialized face perception processes throughout development with the same methodology [less ▲]

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See detailGood to be stressed? Improved response inhibition and error processing after acute stress in young and older men
Dierolf, Angelika UL; Schoofs, Daniela; Hessas, Eve-Mariek et al

in Neuropsychologia (2018), 119

own on whether and how age modulates stress effects on executive functions and their neural correlates. The current study investigated the effect of acute stress on response inhibition and error ... [more ▼]

own on whether and how age modulates stress effects on executive functions and their neural correlates. The current study investigated the effect of acute stress on response inhibition and error processing and their underlying cortical processes in younger and older healthy men, using EEG. Forty-nine participants (30 young) were stressed with the Trier Social Stress Test (16 young, 9 older) or underwent a friendly control procedure (14 young, 10 older) and subsequently performed a Go/No-Go task with two levels of task difficulty while performance (reaction time, error rate), stimulus-locked (N2, P3) and response-locked (Ne, Pe) ERPs were measured. Previous results on age-related cognitive deficits were replicated, with slower responses and reduced and delayed N2 and P3 components, as well as reduced Ne and Pe components in older participants. Independent of age, acute stress improved response inhibition, reflected in higher accuracy for compatible trials and enhanced inhibition-related components (N2, P3 and N2d, P3d of the difference waves No-Go minus Go), and improved error processing, reflected in enhanced error-related components (Ne, Pe and Ne_d, Pe_d of the difference waves error minus correct trial). Our findings indicate that acute stress leads to a reallocation of cognitive resources, strengthening inhibition and error processing in young and older healthy men to a similar degree. Neural generators of the analyzed ERPs are mainly part of the salience network, which is upregulated immediately after stress. This offers an explanation as to why response inhibition, in contrast to other executive functions, improves after acute stress. [less ▲]

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See detailA rapid, objective and implicit measure of visual quantity discrimination
Guillaume, Mathieu UL; Mejias Vanslype, Sandrine UL; Rossion, Bruno et al

in Neuropsychologia (2018), 111

There is evidence that accurate and rapid judgments of visual quantities form an essential component of human mathematical ability. However, explicit behavioural discrimination measures of visual ... [more ▼]

There is evidence that accurate and rapid judgments of visual quantities form an essential component of human mathematical ability. However, explicit behavioural discrimination measures of visual quantities are readily contaminated both by variations in low-level physical parameters and higher order cognitive factors, while implicit measures often lack objectivity and sensitivity at the individual participant level. Here, with electrophysiological frequency tagging, we show discrimination differences between briefly presented visual quantities as low as a ratio of 1.4 (i.e., 14 vs. 10 elements). From this threshold, the neural discrimination response increases with parametrically increasing differences in ratio between visual quantities. Inter-individual variability in magnitude of the EEG response at this population threshold ratio predicts behavioural performance at an independent number comparison task. Overall, these findings indicate that visual quantities are perceptually discriminated automatically and rapidly (i.e., at a glance) within the occipital cortex. Given its high sensitivity, this paradigm could provide an implicit diagnostic neural marker of this process suitable for a wide range of fundamental and clinical applications. [less ▲]

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See detailMental arithmetic in the bilingual brain: Language matters.
Van Rinsveld, Amandine; Dricot, Laurence; Guillaume, Mathieu UL et al

in Neuropsychologia (2017), 101

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was ... [more ▼]

How do bilinguals solve arithmetic problems in each of their languages? We investigated this question by exploring the neural substrates of mental arithmetic in bilinguals. Critically, our population was composed of a homogeneous group of adults who were fluent in both of their instruction languages (i.e., German as first instruction language and French as second instruction language). Twenty bilinguals were scanned with fMRI (3T) while performing mental arithmetic. Both simple and complex problems were presented to disentangle memory retrieval occuring in very simple problems from arithmetic computation occuring in more complex problems. In simple additions, the left temporal regions were more activated in German than in French, whereas no brain regions showed additional activity in the reverse constrast. Complex additions revealed the reverse pattern, since the activations of regions for French surpassed the same computations in German and the extra regions were located predominantly in occipital regions. Our results thus highlight that highly proficient bilinguals rely on differential activation patterns to solve simple and complex additions in each of their languages, suggesting different solving procedures. The present study confirms the critical role of language in arithmetic problem solving and provides novel insights into how highly proficient bilinguals solve arithmetic problems. [less ▲]

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See detailThe non-linear development of the right hemispheric specialization for human face perception.
Lochy, Aliette UL; de Heering, Adelaide; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2017)

The developmental origins of human adults' right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception ... [more ▼]

The developmental origins of human adults' right hemispheric specialization for face perception remain unclear. On the one hand, infant studies have shown a right hemispheric advantage for face perception. On the other hand, it has been proposed that the adult right hemispheric lateralization for face perception slowly emerges during childhood due to reading acquisition, which increases left lateralized posterior responses to competing written material (e.g., visual letters and words). Since methodological approaches used in infant and children typically differ when their face capabilities are explored, resolving this issue has been difficult. Here we tested 5-year-old preschoolers varying in their level of visual letter knowledge with the same fast periodic visual stimulation (FPVS) paradigm leading to strongly right lateralized electrophysiological occipito-temporal face-selective responses in 4- to 6-month-old infants (de Heering and Rossion, 2015). Children's face-selective response was quantitatively larger and differed in scalp topography from infants', but did not differ across hemispheres. There was a small positive correlation between preschoolers' letter knowledge and a non-normalized index of right hemispheric specialization for faces. These observations show that previous discrepant results in the literature reflect a genuine nonlinear development of the neural processes underlying face perception and are not merely due to methodological differences across age groups. We discuss several factors that could contribute to the adult right hemispheric lateralization for faces, such as myelination of the corpus callosum and reading acquisition. Our findings point to the value of FPVS coupled with electroencephalography to assess specialized face perception processes throughout development with the same methodology. [less ▲]

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See detailA robust index of lexical representation in the left occipito-temporal cortex as evidenced by EEG responses to fast periodic visual stimulation.
Lochy, Aliette UL; Van Belle, Goedele; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2015), 66

Despite decades of research on reading, including the relatively recent contributions of neuroimaging and electrophysiology, identifying selective representations of whole visual words (in contrast to ... [more ▼]

Despite decades of research on reading, including the relatively recent contributions of neuroimaging and electrophysiology, identifying selective representations of whole visual words (in contrast to pseudowords) in the human brain remains challenging, in particular without an explicit linguistic task. Here we measured discrimination responses to written words by means of electroencephalography (EEG) during fast periodic visual stimulation. Sequences of pseudofonts, nonwords, or pseudowords were presented through sinusoidal contrast modulation at a periodic 10 Hz frequency rate (F), in which words were interspersed at regular intervals of every fifth item (i.e., F/5, 2 Hz). Participants monitored a central cross color change and had no linguistic task to perform. Within only 3 min of stimulation, a robust discrimination response for words at 2 Hz (and its harmonics, i.e., 4 and 6 Hz) was observed in all conditions, located predominantly over the left occipito-temporal cortex. The magnitude of the response was largest for words embedded in pseudofonts, and larger in nonwords than in pseudowords, showing that list context effects classically reported in behavioral lexical decision tasks are due to visual discrimination rather than decisional processes. Remarkably, the oddball response was significant even for the critical words/pseudowords discrimination condition in every individual participant. A second experiment replicated this words/pseudowords discrimination, and showed that this effect is not accounted for by a higher bigram frequency of words than pseudowords. Without any explicit task, our results highlight the potential of an EEG fast periodic visual stimulation approach for understanding the representation of written language. Its development in the scientific community might be valuable to rapidly and objectively measure sensitivity to word processing in different human populations, including neuropsychological patients with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. [less ▲]

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See detailHorizontal tuning for faces originates in high-level Fusiform Face Area.
Goffaux, Valerie; Duecker, Felix; Hausfeld, Lars et al

in Neuropsychologia (2015), 81

Recent work indicates that the specialization of face visual perception relies on the privileged processing of horizontal angles of facial information. This suggests that stimulus properties assumed to be ... [more ▼]

Recent work indicates that the specialization of face visual perception relies on the privileged processing of horizontal angles of facial information. This suggests that stimulus properties assumed to be fully resolved in primary visual cortex (V1; e.g., orientation) in fact determine human vision until high-level stages of processing. To address this hypothesis, the present fMRI study explored the orientation sensitivity of V1 and high-level face-specialized ventral regions such as the Occipital Face Area (OFA) and Fusiform Face Area (FFA) to different angles of face information. Participants viewed face images filtered to retain information at horizontal, vertical or oblique angles. Filtered images were viewed upright, inverted and (phase-)scrambled. FFA responded most strongly to the horizontal range of upright face information; its activation pattern reliably separated horizontal from oblique ranges, but only when faces were upright. Moreover, activation patterns induced in the right FFA and the OFA by upright and inverted faces could only be separated based on horizontal information. This indicates that the specialized processing of upright face information in the OFA and FFA essentially relies on the encoding of horizontal facial cues. This pattern was not passively inherited from V1, which was found to respond less strongly to horizontal than other orientations likely due to adaptive whitening. Moreover, we found that orientation decoding accuracy in V1 was impaired for stimuli containing no meaningful shape. By showing that primary coding in V1 is influenced by high-order stimulus structure and that high-level processing is tuned to selective ranges of primary information, the present work suggests that primary and high-level levels of the visual system interact in order to modulate the processing of certain ranges of primary information depending on their relevance with respect to the stimulus and task at hand. [less ▲]

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See detailAttentional shifts induced by uninformative number symbols modulate neural activity in human occipital cortex
Goffaux, Valérie; Martin, Romain UL; Dormal, Giulia et al

in Neuropsychologia (2012), 50

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to ... [more ▼]

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to different target locations according to the number magnitude, i.e., small/large numbers facilitate processing of left/right targets, respectively. The brain architecture dedicated to these attention shifts associated with numbers remains unknown. Evoked potential recordings indicate that both early and late stages are involved in this spatio-numerical interaction, but the neuro-functional anatomy needs to be specified. Here we use, for the first time, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate attentional orienting following uninformative Arabic digits. We show that BOLD response in occipital visual regions is modulated by the congruency between digit magnitude (small/large) and target side (left/right). Additionally, we report higher BOLD responses following large (8, 9) compared to small (1, 2) digits in two bilateral parietal regions, yielding a significant effect of digit magnitude. We propose and discuss the view that encoding of semantic representations related to number symbols in parietal cortex leads to shifts in visuo-spatial attention and enhances visual processing in the occipital cortex according to number-space congruency rules. [less ▲]

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See detailAttentional shifts induced by uninformative number symbols modulate neural activity in human occipital cortex
Goffaux, Valerie; Martin, Romain UL; Dormal, Giulia et al

in Neuropsychologia (2012), 50

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to ... [more ▼]

Number processing interacts with space encoding in a wide variety of experimental paradigms. Most intriguingly, the passive viewing of uninformative number symbols can shift visuo-spatial attention to different target locations according to the number magnitude, i.e., small/large numbers facilitate processing of left/right targets, respectively. The brain architecture dedicated to these attention shifts associated with numbers currently remains unknown. Evoked potential recordings indicate that both early and late stages are involved in this spatio-numerical interaction, but the neuro-functional anatomy needs to be specified. Here we use, for the first time, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate attentional orienting following uninformative Arabic digits. We show that BOLD response in occipital visual regions was modulated by the congruency between digit magnitude (small/large) and target side (left/right). Additionally, we report higher BOLD responses following large (8, 9) compared to small (1, 2) digits in two bilateral parietal regions, yielding a significant effect of digit magnitude. We propose and discuss the view that encoding of semantic representations related to number symbols in parietal cortex led to shifts in visuo-spatial attention and enhanced visual processing in the occipital cortex according to number-space congruency rules. [less ▲]

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See detailIs there continuity between categorical and coordinate spatial relations coding? Evidence from a grid/no-gridworking memory paradigm
Martin, Romain UL; Houssemand, Claude UL; Schiltz, Christine UL et al

in Neuropsychologia (2008), 46(2), 576-594

We ask the question whether the coding of categorical versus coordinate spatial relations depends on different neural networks showing hemispheric specialization or whether there is continuity between ... [more ▼]

We ask the question whether the coding of categorical versus coordinate spatial relations depends on different neural networks showing hemispheric specialization or whether there is continuity between these two coding types. The `continuous spatial coding' hypothesis would mean that the two coding types rely essentially on the same neural network consisting of more general-purpose processes, such as visuo-spatial attention, but with a different weighting of these general processes depending on exact task requirements. With event-related fMRI, we have studied right-handed male subjects performing a grid/no-grid visuo-spatial working memory task inducing categorical and coordinate spatial relations coding. Our data support the `continuous spatial coding' hypothesis, indicating that, while based on the same fronto-parieto-occipital neural network than categorical spatial relations coding, the coding of coordinate spatial relations relies more heavily on attentional and executive processes, which could induce hemispheric differences similar to those described in the literature. The results also show that visuo-spatial working memory consists of a short-term posterior store with a capacity of up to three elements in the parietal and extrastriate cortices. This store depends on the presence of a visible space categorization and thus can be used for the coding of categorical spatial relations. When no visible space categorization is given or when more than three elements have to be coded, additional attentional and executive processes are recruited, mainly located in the dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex. [less ▲]

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See detailRecovery from adaptation to facial identity is larger for upright than inverted faces in the human occipito-temporal cortex
Mazard, Angelique; Schiltz, Christine UL; Rossion, Bruno

in Neuropsychologia (2006), 44(6), 912-922

Human faces look more similar to each other when they are presented upside-down, leading to an increase of error rates and response times during individual face discrimination tasks. Here we used ... [more ▼]

Human faces look more similar to each other when they are presented upside-down, leading to an increase of error rates and response times during individual face discrimination tasks. Here we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test the hypothesis that this perceived similarity leads to a lower recovery from identity adaptation for inverted faces than for upright faces in face-sensitive areas of the occipito-temporal cortex. Ten subjects were presented with blocks of upright and inverted faces, with the same face identity repeated consecutively in half of the blocks, and different facial identities repeated in the other blocks. When face stimuli were presented upright, the percent signal change in the bilateral middle fusiform gyrus (MFG) was larger for different faces as compared to same faces, replicating previous observations of a recovery from facial identity adaptation in this region. However, there was no significant recovery from adaptation when different inverted faces were presented. Most interestingly, the difference in activation between upright and inverted faces increased progressively during a block when different facial identities were presented. A similar pattern of activation was found in the left middle fusiform gyrus, but was less clear-cut in bilateral face-sensitive areas of the inferior occipital cortex. These findings show that the differential level of activation to upright and inverted faces in the fusiform gyrus is mainly due to a difference in recovery from adaptation, and they explain the discrepancies in the results reported in previous fMRI studies which compared the processing of upright and inverted faces. The lack of recovery from adaptation for inverted faces in the fusiform gyrus may underlie the face inversion effect (FIE), which takes place during perceptual encoding of individual face representations. [less ▲]

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See detailDeficient arithmetic fact retrieval--storage or access problem? A case study.
Kaufmann, Liane; Lochy, Aliette UL; Drexler, Arthur et al

in Neuropsychologia (2004), 42(4), 482-96

This paper aims at clarifying the nature of fact retrieval difficulties in an 18-year-old young man (MO) who exhibited a puzzling pattern of developmental dyscalculia. Contrasting performance on explicit ... [more ▼]

This paper aims at clarifying the nature of fact retrieval difficulties in an 18-year-old young man (MO) who exhibited a puzzling pattern of developmental dyscalculia. Contrasting performance on explicit (production and verification tasks) and implicit (priming) tasks we observed poor overt retrieval of addition and multiplication facts, classical interference effects in verification tasks and inconsistency of error patterns. Hence, MO's performance pattern is suggestive of the existence of a partly stored network of facts (reflecting imperfect storage), but is also compatible with an access deficit according to Warrington and Cipolotti's [Brain 119 (1996) 611] criteria for distinguishing access and storage deficits in dysphasic patients. Furthermore, while MO displayed interference effects in verification tasks, he did not show automatic access to arithmetic facts in implicit tasks. Finally, similar to the findings of Roussel, Fayol, and Barrouillet [European Journal of Cognitive Psychology 14(1) (2002) 61] on normal subjects, MO's performance pattern is suggestive of the existence of differential processing mechanisms for addition and multiplication facts. We propose a unifying mechanism, namely a deficit of the central executive of working memory (WM), that accounts both for the constitution of a fuzzy network of fact representations, and for an access deficit modulated by attentional demands as required in explicit/implicit task paradigms. Overall, our results clearly provide evidence that even in (a developmental) case of a non-perfect network of memory representations (e.g. [Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 117 (1988) 258]), interference effects might be observed. Future studies thus need to be cautious before concluding that interference effects prove the existence of a well-established associative memory network of arithmetic facts. [less ▲]

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See detailNumber processing and basal ganglia dysfunction: a single case study.
Delazer, Margarete; Domahs, Frank; Lochy, Aliette UL et al

in Neuropsychologia (2004), 42(8), 1050-62

Numerical processing has never been investigated in a case of Fahr's disease (FD) and only rarely in cases of basal ganglia dysfunction. The study describes the cognitive decline of a pre-morbidly high ... [more ▼]

Numerical processing has never been investigated in a case of Fahr's disease (FD) and only rarely in cases of basal ganglia dysfunction. The study describes the cognitive decline of a pre-morbidly high-functioning patient (medical doctor) affected by FD and his difficulties in number processing. A MRI scan revealed bilateral calcifications in the basal ganglia and a brain PET showed a massive reduction of glucose metabolism in the basal ganglia and both frontal lobes, but no other brain abnormalities. The patient's cognitive deficits included impairments in problem solving, in cognitive set shifting and in mental flexibility, as well as in verbal memory. These deficits are attributed to the disruption of the dorsolateral prefrontal circuit involving the basal ganglia. In number processing, the patient showed a severe deficit in the retrieval of multiplication facts, deficits in all tasks of numerical problem solving and in the execution of complex procedures. Importantly, he also showed a dense deficit in conceptual knowledge, which concerned all test conditions and all operations. The findings confirm the predictions of the triple code model in so far, as a disruption of cortico-subcortical loops involving the basal-ganglia may lead to specific deficits in fact retrieval. However, no verbal deficit, as assumed in the triple code model and reported in similar cases, could be observed. The present findings further add to current knowledge on numerical processing, showing how fronto-executive dysfunction may disrupt conceptual understanding of arithmetic. This study shows that not only parietal lesions may lead to severe deficits in conceptual understanding, but that basal ganglia lesions leading to frontal dysfunction may have a devastating effect. [less ▲]

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See detailTranscoding zeros within complex numerals.
Grana, Alessia; Lochy, Aliette UL; Girelli, Luisa et al

in Neuropsychologia (2003), 41(12), 1611-8

This paper describes a patient (LD) showing a selective syntactic deficit in the production of Arabic numerals. Unlike in previously reported cases, LD's syntactic difficulties result in deletions rather ... [more ▼]

This paper describes a patient (LD) showing a selective syntactic deficit in the production of Arabic numerals. Unlike in previously reported cases, LD's syntactic difficulties result in deletions rather than insertions of zeros, with a reduction of the number magnitude. The pattern of errors highlighted a distinction between "lexical zeros", i.e. the zeros in tens, that are semantically derived, and "syntactic zeros" that are syntactically produced as the result of specific production rules. In LD, only syntactic zeros were affected. Furthermore, the processing of numerals with final zeros was found to be easier than the processing of numerals with internal zeros. This pattern of errors is compatible with the lexical-semantic model of Power and Dal Martello. In this model, in fact, lexical zeros originate from a numerical concept, while syntactic zeros originate from a concatenation operation, plus an overwriting operation leaving one or more intermediary zeros. Thus, lexical zeros may be easier to manipulate than syntactic zeros that merely represent a null quantity associated to a specific power of 10. [less ▲]

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See detailWhen writing 0 (zero) is easier than writing O (o): a neuropsychological case study of agraphia.
Delazer, M.; Lochy, Aliette UL; Jenner, C. et al

in Neuropsychologia (2002), 40(12), 2167-77

Though a few case studies reported a dissociation between intact writing of Arabic and impaired writing of alphabetical script, a detailed experimental analysis of such a dissociation is still lacking. We ... [more ▼]

Though a few case studies reported a dissociation between intact writing of Arabic and impaired writing of alphabetical script, a detailed experimental analysis of such a dissociation is still lacking. We report a follow-up study of a patient with a parieto-occipital lesion who is affected by severe peripheral agraphia for letters, but not for Arabic digits. While letters in writing to dictation are frequently illegible, distorted, or consist in meaningless strokes, Arabic digits are well-formed and fluently produced. In a series of tasks, including copying of letters with tachistoscopic presentation and handwriting on a digitizing tablet, several processing levels are assessed in order to localize JS' functional writing impairment and to determine different processing routes for letters and for numbers. Overall, the results of the experimental investigation suggest a notation specific deficit in the activation of graphomotor patterns for letters, but not for digits. The study thus adds evidence to the so far reported dissociations between Arabic and alphabetical scripts. [less ▲]

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