International audienceIt is a familiar and intuitive notion that human numerical and logical reasoning skills are tightly related. However, very little is known about the interaction between numerical knowledge and logical reasoning in the brain. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging in healthy subjects, we investigated ordered relations as they are expressed in number (4 is greater than 2) and in transitive reasoning (A is to the left of C after receiving; A is to the left of B; B is to the left of C) in order to determine the extent to which the same neural substrates support both. We found that representing an ordered series verbally learned by transitive reasoning draws on the representations of numbers in the anterior intraparietal sulcus. We further observed that, unlike numbers, transitive series are additionally encoded in the basal ganglia-dopamine system. Intraparietal and basal ganglia mechanisms are not active to the same extent at the same time. Although the intraparietal representations of number preferentially supports a verbal transitive series soon after learning, the basal ganglia are engaged when the series is well practiced. This finding suggests that the transient activation of number representations supports the representation of verbal transitive series until their late encoding in the basal ganglia-dopamine system by associative reinforcement mechanisms
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