The seats of reason? An imaging study of deductive and inductive reasoning


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Abstract

WE carried out a neuroimaging study to test the neuro-physiological predictions made by different cognitive models of reasoning. Ten normal volunteers performed deductive and inductive reasoning tasks while their regional cerebral blood flow pattern was recorded using [15O]H2O PET imaging. In the control condition subjects semantically comprehended sets of three sentences. In the deductive reasoning condition subjects determined whether the third sentence was entailed by the first two sentences. In the inductive reasoning condition subjects reported whether the third sentence was plausible given the first two sentences. The deduction condition resulted in activation of the left inferior frontal gyrus (Brodmann areas 45, 47). The induction condition resulted in activation of a large area comprised of the left medial frontal gyrus, the left cingulate gyrus, and the left superior frontal gyrus (Brodmann areas 8, 9, 24, 32). Induction was distinguished from deduction by the involvement of the medial aspect of the left superior frontal gyrus (Brodmann areas 8, 9). These results are consistent with cognitive models of reasoning that postulate different mechanisms for inductive and deductive reasoning and view deduction as a formal rule-based process.

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