Universal and Particular Contradiction in Human Reasoning

07 / 2009

Maria Teresa Medaglia, Camillo Porcaro, Michele Abrusci, Claudia Casadio, Franca Tecchio, Stefano Seri, G. Di Lorenzo, P. M. Rossini

Neuroimage 47 (1):S111



A wide range of essential reasoning tasks rely on contradiction identification, a cornerstone of human rationality, communication and debate founded on the inversion of the logical operators Every and Some. A high-density electroencephalographic (EEG) study was performed in 11 normal young adults. The cerebral network involved in the identification of contradiction included the orbito-frontal and anterior-cingulate cortices and the temporo-polar cortices. The event-related dynamic of this network showed an early negative deflection lasting 500 ms after sentence presentation. This was followed by a positive deflection lasting 1.5 s, which was different for the two logical operators. A lesser degree of network activation (either in neuron number or their level of phase locking or both) occurred while processing statements with Some, suggesting that this was a relatively simpler scenario with one example to be figured out, instead of the many examples or the absence of a counterexample searched for while processing statements with Every.