I got an email out of the blue, today, from my old & dear friend Cristin.
It was wonderful to hear from her, and hear that she, like me, is still scrabble obsessed. She has an awesome life in NYC which, aside from the scrabble obsession, is completely, totally different than mine.
First consider the strongest hypothesis based on prior research, that HIPS is the neural instantiation of a domain-specific mechanism for representing abstract numerical magnitude. The results listed above seriously challenge this hypothesis. Indeed, they indicate that if HIPS is engaged by non-symbolic number processing, all of the following must be true: I) there must not be domain-specific modulation of activation by task difficulty (Experiment 3), II) number representations for non-symbolic stimuli must be activated in a task-independent fashion (Experiment 1), yet III) not cause response interference (Behavioral results from Experiment 1), and IV) not show adaptation for repeated numerosities (Experiment 2). This new set of constraints seems possible – though perhaps unlikely - when considered alone. However, the existing literature claims that symbolic number processing does elicit activations modulated by difficulty (Pinel et al., 2001), does respond in a domain-specific fashion to numbers and display task-dependent localization of activation (Eger et al., 2003), does cause response-interference (Pavese and Umilta, 1998) and does display adaptation effects (Naccache and Dehaene, 2001). In light of these opposite characteristics, the theory that a single representational system with its locus in this region of parietal cortex underlies both symbolic and non-symbolic processing seems unparsimonious at best.
Now, that's an excerpt from the manuscript Nancy & I just submitted to Neuron. I'm extremely excited about the fact that I've just submitted my first "first author" paper. But I'm not exactly cool like Cristin is. People read or hear or see her shit, and they vibe, they grin, they laugh, they feel. People read my shit and, for the most part, just glaze over. Oh, well. I dig it. :-)
Now that I've been humble for a moment . . . I submitted! Woo-hoo! Done! Free at last, free at last, free at last! And while I really should get back to being productive and, say, move forward with scheduling for my new study . . . it's hard not to just bask in the glow of completion for a little while.