Contradictory reasoning network: an EEG and FMRI study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Camillo Porcaro
  • Maria Teresa Medaglia
  • Ngoc Jade Thai
  • Stefano Seri
  • Franca Tecchio

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • LET'S-ISTC-CNR, Rome, Italy.
  • LET'S-ISTC-CNR, Rome, Italy; Phylosophy Department, Roma Tre University, Rome, Italy.
  • Aston University
  • Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.
  • LET'S-ISTC-CNR, Rome, Italy; Department of Neuroimaging, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, Rome, Italy.


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.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere92835
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Adult, Electroencephalography, Female, Gyrus Cinguli, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Prefrontal Cortex, Radiography, Rationalization, Journal Article, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't