Contradictory reasoning network: an EEG and FMRI study

Camillo Porcaro, Maria Teresa Medaglia, Ngoc Jade Thai, Stefano Seri, Pia Rotshtein, Franca Tecchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Contradiction is a cornerstone of human rationality, essential for everyday life and communication. We investigated electroencephalographic (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in separate recording sessions during contradictory judgments, using a logical structure based on categorical propositions of the Aristotelian Square of Opposition (ASoO). The use of ASoO propositions, while controlling for potential linguistic or semantic confounds, enabled us to observe the spatial temporal unfolding of this contradictory reasoning. The processing started with the inversion of the logical operators corresponding to right middle frontal gyrus (rMFG-BA11) activation, followed by identification of contradictory statement associated with in the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG-BA47) activation. Right medial frontal gyrus (rMeFG, BA10) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC, BA32) contributed to the later stages of process. We observed a correlation between the delayed latency of rBA11 response and the reaction time delay during inductive vs. deductive reasoning. This supports the notion that rBA11 is crucial for manipulating the logical operators. Slower processing time and stronger brain responses for inductive logic suggested that examples are easier to process than general principles and are more likely to simplify communication. © 2014 Porcaro et al.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92835
Number of pages11
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

© 2014 Porcaro et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • logical reasoning
  • neuroimaging
  • functional MRI
  • electroencephalography


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