An ERP study of simple addition: The semantics and syntax of arithmetic operation sign

Shelley Shaul, Pearla Nesher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of the current study was to examine brain activity of adult regular calculators while processing addition sums with different types of answers. The task was a verification task, the incorrect answers were divided into two types: one was comprised of three numbers that do not belong to any additive triplet (such as 2, 4, 7) and it was always near the correct result (± 1); the other was a number which is related to the two numbers which appear in the stimulus but belongs to an incorrect competing triplet of numbers and it was always in a greater distance from the correct answer. Differences were found between the different types of answers in the behavioral reaction time with longest reaction time for the competing triplet and the shortest reaction time for the correct answer. In addition, differences in the latency and amplitude of the N170, N270, N400 and P600 components were found among the different types of answers. It can be concluded from these results that the effect of the interference of the competing triplets is greater than the split effect (distance effect), and that there is a different time zone for coding the numbers and coding of other more general syntactic-semantic arithmetic signs.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)545-564
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Integrative Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - 22 Sep 2014


  • Basic arithmetic calculation
  • Distance effect
  • Event related potentials
  • Number triplets

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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