Spatiotemporal characteristics of electrocortical brain activity during mental calculation

Mariska J. Vansteensel, Martin G. Bleichner, Zac V. Freudenburg, Dora Hermes, Erik J. Aarnoutse, Frans S.S. Leijten, Cyrille H. Ferrier, Johan Martijn Jansma, Nick F. Ramsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Mental calculation is a complex mental procedure involving a frontoparietal network of brain regions. Functional MRI (fMRI) studies have revealed interesting characteristics of these regions, but the precise function of some areas remains elusive. In the present study, we used electrocorticographic (ECoG) recordings to chronometrically assess the neuronal processes during mental arithmetic. A calculation task was performed during presurgical 3T fMRI scanning and subsequent ECoG monitoring. Mental calculation induced an increase in fMRI blood oxygen level dependent signal in prefrontal, parietal and lower temporo-occipital regions. The group-fMRI result was subsequently used to cluster the implanted electrodes into anatomically defined regions of interest (ROIs). We observed remarkable differences in high frequency power profiles between ROIs, some of which were closely associated with stimulus presentation and others with the response. Upon stimulus presentation, occipital areas were the first to respond, followed by parietal and frontal areas, and finally by motor areas. Notably, we demonstrate that the fMRI activation in the middle frontal gyrus/precentral gyrus is associated with two subfunctions during mental calculation. This finding reveals the significance of the temporal dynamics of neural ensembles within regions with an apparent uniform function. In conclusion, our results shed more light on the spatiotemporal aspects of brain activation during a mental calculation task, and demonstrate that the use of fMRI data to cluster ECoG electrodes is a useful approach for ECoG group analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5903-5920
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Arithmetic
  • Chronometry
  • Dynamics
  • ECoG
  • FMRI
  • High frequency band
  • Human
  • Intracranial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatiotemporal characteristics of electrocortical brain activity during mental calculation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this