Prefrontal and parietal activity is modulated by the rule complexity of inductive reasoning and can be predicted by a cognitive model

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In neuroimaging studies, increased task complexity can lead to increased activation in task-specific regions or to activation of additional regions. How the brain adapts to increased rule complexity during inductive reasoning remains unclear. In the current study, three types of problems were created: simple rule induction (i.e., SI, with rule complexity of 1), complex rule induction (i.e., CI, with rule complexity of 2), and perceptual control. Our findings revealed that increased activations accompany increased rule complexity in the right dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and medial posterior parietal cortex (precuneus). A cognitive model predicted both the behavioral and brain imaging results. The current findings suggest that neural activity in frontal and parietal regions is modulated by rule complexity, which may shed light on the neural mechanisms of inductive reasoning.

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