Brain electrical traits of logical validity

Sci Rep. 2021 Apr 12;11(1):7982. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-87191-1.


Neuroscience has studied deductive reasoning over the last 20 years under the assumption that deductive inferences are not only de jure but also de facto distinct from other forms of inference. The objective of this research is to verify if logically valid deductions leave any cerebral electrical trait that is distinct from the trait left by non-valid deductions. 23 subjects with an average age of 20.35 years were registered with MEG and placed into a two conditions paradigm (100 trials for each condition) which each presented the exact same relational complexity (same variables and content) but had distinct logical complexity. Both conditions show the same electromagnetic components (P3, N4) in the early temporal window (250-525 ms) and P6 in the late temporal window (500-775 ms). The significant activity in both valid and invalid conditions is found in sensors from medial prefrontal regions, probably corresponding to the ACC or to the medial prefrontal cortex. The amplitude and intensity of valid deductions is significantly lower in both temporal windows (p = 0.0003). The reaction time was 54.37% slower in the valid condition. Validity leaves a minimal but measurable hypoactive electrical trait in brain processing. The minor electrical demand is attributable to the recursive and automatable character of valid deductions, suggesting a physical indicator of computational deductive properties. It is hypothesized that all valid deductions are recursive and hypoactive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Behavior
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electricity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logic*
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Young Adult