Aristotle Meets Zeno: Psychophysiological Evidence

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Papageorgiou, Charalabos ; Stachtea, Xanthi ; Papageorgiou, Panos ; Alexandridis, Antonio T. ; Tsaltas, Eleftheria ; Angelopoulos, Elias (2016)
  • Publisher: Public Library of Science
  • Journal: PLoS ONE, volume 11, issue 12 (issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC5199053, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0168067
  • Subject: Research Article | Diagnostic Medicine | Cognitive Psychology | Clinical Neurophysiology | Wavelet Transforms | Reasoning | Electrode Potentials | Mathematical and Statistical Techniques | Brain Electrophysiology | Bioassays and Physiological Analysis | Physical Sciences | Psychology | Brain Mapping | Chemistry | Electroencephalography | Biology and Life Sciences | Mathematical Functions | Electrochemistry | Neuroscience | Research and Analysis Methods | Membrane Electrophysiology | Physiology | Electrode Recording | Medicine | Neuroimaging | Q | R | Electrophysiology | Imaging Techniques | Social Sciences | Science | Electrophysiological Techniques | Attention | Event-Related Potentials | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neurophysiology | Cognitive Science

This study, a tribute to Aristotle's 2400 years, used a juxtaposition of valid Aristotelian arguments to the paradoxes formulated by Zeno the Eleatic, in order to investigate the electrophysiological correlates of attentional and /or memory processing effects in the course of deductive reasoning. Participants undertook reasoning tasks based on visually presented arguments which were either (a) valid (Aristotelian) statements or (b) paradoxes. We compared brain activation patterns while participants maintained the premises / conclusions of either the valid statements or the paradoxes in working memory (WM). Event-related brain potentials (ERPs), specifically the P300 component of ERPs, were recorded during the WM phase, during which participants were required to draw a logical conclusion regarding the correctness of the valid syllogisms or the paradoxes. During the processing of paradoxes, results demonstrated a more positive event-related potential deflection (P300) across frontal regions, whereas processing of valid statements was associated with noticeable P300 amplitudes across parieto-occipital regions. These findings suggest that paradoxes mobilize frontal attention mechanisms, while valid deduction promotes parieto-occipital activity associated with attention and/or subsequent memory processing.
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