Several recent studies investigating the organization of the human control system propose that rules at different control levels are organized along an anterior-to-posterior gradient within PFC. In this study, we used multivariate pattern analysis to explore independently the representation of formally identical conditional rules belonging to different levels of a cognitive hierarchy and provide for the first time a clear identification of low- and high-level rule representations. We found no major spatial differences between regions encoding rules from different hierarchical levels. This suggests that the human brain does not use levels in the investigated hierarchy as a topographical organization principle to represent rules controlling our behavior. Our paradigm represents a promising approach to identifying which principles are critical.

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