Research Article

Foundations of human reasoning in the prefrontal cortex

Science  29 May 2014:

DOI: 10.1126/science.1252254

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Abstract

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) subserves reasoning in the service of adaptive behavior. Little is known however about the architecture of reasoning processes in the PFC. Using computational modeling and neuroimaging, we show here that the human PFC comprises two concurrent inferential tracks: one from ventromedial to dorsomedial PFC regions that makes probabilistic inferences about the reliability of the ongoing behavioral strategy and arbitrates between adjusting this strategy vs. exploring new ones from long-term memory; another from polar to lateral PFC regions that makes probabilistic inferences about the reliability of two/three alternative strategies and arbitrates between exploring new strategies vs. exploiting these alternative ones. The two tracks interact and along with the striatum, realize hypothesis-testing for accepting vs. rejecting newly created strategies.

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