Some neurons in your brain only fire when you’re doing numbers


According to a new study, some neurons in the brain are encoded with mathematical calculations and act like the (+) or (-) sign on a calculator.

scientist discovered that certain neurons in the brain fire when people do math. The common belief that the right side of the brain controls emotion and creativity while the left side of the brain is responsible for analysis and computation is more than one challenge. The brain is one of the most complex and least understood elements of life.

The work to understand how the human brain works has accelerated with the intention of creating artificial human intelligence. The truth is, apart from how the brain works, code and machine learning are one universe. The human brain is also clearly underestimated. It goes to great lengths to do automatic tasks that keep people alive and other incredible tasks that people take for granted and never stop wondering how it does them.


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Scientists at the University of Bonn say their study proves that certain neurons in the brain are encoded to solve mathematical equations. The study also found that different neurons are activated during different calculations. These neurons are activated like a (+) or (−) sign on a calculator. Furthermore, the study showed that it makes no difference whether the calculation is presented as a numerical equation or as a language problem. The addition or subtraction neurons light up like a Christmas tree every time.

The mysterious complex simplicity of the brain

Study results Regions of the brain

In the Department of Epileptology at the University Hospital in Bonn, patients with epilepsy are implanted with several electrodes in their brains using special surgical procedures. The electrodes are used to determine where the epileptic spasm is originating. This allows for better understanding, reduces seizures, and develops better drugs and treatments. Five women and four men from this program participated in the mathematical study.

The study showed that the brain’s temporal lobe and parahippocampal cortex are closely related to mathematical calculations. Mathematical calculations require visualization, memory, language skills, imagination, abstract thinking and sleep functions, all very complex tools connected to these regions of the brain. To the scientists’ surprise, the patients activated different neurons when subtracting than when adding.

The scientists concluded that the neuron cells encode the mathematical operation and instruction and send the electrical signal that triggers the action. Just by looking at which region of the brain lit up, the team was able to predict with great accuracy whether the patient was adding or subtracting. After all, although it may seem relatively simple, adding and subtracting is not quantum mechanics, says Professor Andreas Nieder of the University of Tübingen that it “hardly anything” Study how this works in humans. That fact alone says as much about how little scientist know how the human brain works.

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Source: Current Biology/Cell

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