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

Vinod Goel, Brian Gold, Shitij Kapur, Sylvain Houle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations

Abstract

We carried out a neuroimaging study to test the neurophysiological 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1305-1310
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroReport
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997

Keywords

  • cognition
  • deduction
  • frontal lobes
  • induction
  • inference
  • positron emission tomography
  • reasoning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience

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