Elementary deduction is the ability of unreflectively drawing conclusions from explicit or implicit premises, on the basis of their logical forms. This ability is involved in many aspects of human cognition and interactions. To date, limited evidence exists on its cortical bases. We propose a model of elementary deduction in which logical inferences, memory, and meta-logical control are separable subcomponents. We explore deficits in patients with left, medial and right frontal lesions, by both studying patients' deductive abilities and providing measures of their meta-logical sensitivity for proof difficulty. We show that lesions to left lateral and medial frontal cortex impair abilities at solving elementary deductive problems, but not so lesions to right frontal cortex. Furthermore, we show that memory deficits differentially affect patients according to the locus of the lesion. Left lateral patients with working memory deficits had defective deductive abilities, but not so left lateral patients with spared working memory. In contrast, in medial patients both deductive and meta-deductive abilities were affected regardless of the presence of memory deficits. Overall, the results are compatible with a componential view of elementary deduction, and call for the elaboration of more fine-grained models of deductive abilities. (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Cortical bases of elementary deductive reasoning: Inference, memory, and metadeduction

Bonatti, Luca L.
2009

Abstract

Elementary deduction is the ability of unreflectively drawing conclusions from explicit or implicit premises, on the basis of their logical forms. This ability is involved in many aspects of human cognition and interactions. To date, limited evidence exists on its cortical bases. We propose a model of elementary deduction in which logical inferences, memory, and meta-logical control are separable subcomponents. We explore deficits in patients with left, medial and right frontal lesions, by both studying patients' deductive abilities and providing measures of their meta-logical sensitivity for proof difficulty. We show that lesions to left lateral and medial frontal cortex impair abilities at solving elementary deductive problems, but not so lesions to right frontal cortex. Furthermore, we show that memory deficits differentially affect patients according to the locus of the lesion. Left lateral patients with working memory deficits had defective deductive abilities, but not so left lateral patients with spared working memory. In contrast, in medial patients both deductive and meta-deductive abilities were affected regardless of the presence of memory deficits. Overall, the results are compatible with a componential view of elementary deduction, and call for the elaboration of more fine-grained models of deductive abilities. (c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3715151
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