Thursday, August 20, 2009

Independence of our logical inference and natural language

Monti et al. examine the proposition that logic inference recruits neural structures traditionally engaged by linguistic processing, and make some very interesting points. Their abstract:
Is human thought fully embedded in language, or do some forms of thought operate independently? To directly address this issue, we focus on inference-making, a central feature of human cognition. In a 3T fMRI study we compare logical inferences relying on sentential connectives (e.g., not, or, if … then) to linguistic inferences based on syntactic transformation of sentences involving ditransitive verbs (e.g., give, say, take). When contrasted with matched grammaticality judgments, logic inference alone recruited “core” regions of deduction [Brodmann area (BA) 10p and 8m], whereas linguistic inference alone recruited perisylvian regions of linguistic competence, among others (BA 21, 22, 37, 39, 44, and 45 and caudate). In addition, the two inferences commonly recruited a set of general “support” areas in frontoparietal cortex (BA 6, 7, 8, 40, and 47). The results indicate that logical inference is not embedded in natural language and confirm the relative modularity of linguistic processes.


  1. In my humble opinion I think,
    First I do not belive much in proof fmri can provide for it. Second I think that it is more reliable to try for exampoe doing both things at the same time, like the part that process language if you attempt to listen and talk at the same time you wont be able to do it because there is only one resource to interpret language an it can not be used by 2 different activities at the same time. Second it make sense that they are not processed by the same part because language does not seem logic to me, it has some arbitrary things.

  2. I find it, in the process of reaching out towards an understanding of the question (where no element of an answer yet exists, or at the very least not immediately recognizable as an answer), a necessity to invoke thought. With thought having precedence over language, or more specifically over speech, in the dimension of time, one must say that language necessarily is a product of thought, both when encoding thought into language and when decoding language onto thought. With language being the bridge of thought from one mind to another, one must also say that the common denominator in the set of all understandings of language is thought. When speaking, one maps thought into language, and when reading, one maps language onto thought, all using thought.

    I am left with one conclusive question within the set of conclusions; With no reference to time in the answer, when will language precede thought if we are all under time?

    Consequently I am left with one question in the set of questions; If you would say that multiple statements in language may map onto one thought, then what forms the necessity to have multiple statements given one thought?

    There seems to be an inherent emerging capacity to produce language under time using the process of thought, and eventually I must ask the main question; what is that capacity in the process of thought that is not in language?