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Science. 2019 May 17;364(6441). pii: eaav8911. doi: 10.1126/science.aav8911.

Hierarchical reasoning by neural circuits in the frontal cortex.

Author information

1
Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA.
2
Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA. mjaz@mit.edu.

Abstract

Humans process information hierarchically. In the presence of hierarchies, sources of failures are ambiguous. Humans resolve this ambiguity by assessing their confidence after one or more attempts. To understand the neural basis of this reasoning strategy, we recorded from dorsomedial frontal cortex (DMFC) and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) of monkeys in a task in which negative outcomes were caused either by misjudging the stimulus or by a covert switch between two stimulus-response contingency rules. We found that both areas harbored a representation of evidence supporting a rule switch. Additional perturbation experiments revealed that ACC functioned downstream of DMFC and was directly and specifically involved in inferring covert rule switches. These results‏ reveal the computational principles of hierarchical reasoning, as implemented by cortical circuits.

PMID:
31097640
DOI:
10.1126/science.aav8911

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