Tool: Analogical Reasoning

One of SILC's central goals is to find powerful learning processes that will foster spatial knowledge and skills. Analogical processes promote spatial learning both in young children and in STEM disciplines. The ubiquity of analogy can be seen from its cropping up in projects under other research. The goals of our research on Maps & Diagrams, Early Education, and Geoscience Education are exploring how structural alignment can be used in learning. In Sketching, CogSketch relies on simulations of analogical processing for both modeling human spatial reasoning and generating feedback in worksheets. Our chief goal in this research is to discover and develop uses of analogical alignment and mapping that can most effectively promote spatial learning, especially STEM learning.

The goals of our research on Analogical Reasoning are:

  1. To understand how structural alignment can be used to learn spatial categories.
  2. To understand the nature of spatial comparison in children and adults.
  3. To understand whether or not analogy is a uniquely human capability, via comparative studies of spatial cognition in apes and humans.

Point of Contact:
Dedre Gentner (Co-PI)

Additional References

  • ♦ Baillargeon, R. (1991). Reasoning about the height and location of a hidden object in 4.5- and 6.5-month-old infants. Cognition, 38, 13-42.
  • ♦ Casasola, M. (in preparation) Comparison and language in infants' categorization of spatial relations.
  • ♦ Catrambone, R., & Holyoak, K. J. (1989). Overcoming contextual limitations on problem solving transfer. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition,15, 1147-1156.
  • ♦ Chen, Z., & Klahr, D. (1999). All other things being equal: Acquisition and transfer of the Control of Variables Strategy. Child Development, 70, 1098-1120.
  • ♦ Childers, J. (2005) Is comparison useful for verb learning? Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA.
  • ♦ Gentner, D. (1983). Structure-mapping: A theoretical framework for analogy. Cognitive Science, 7, 155-170.>
  • ♦ Gentner, D., Loewenstein, J., Thompson, L. (2003). Learning and transfer: A general role for analogical encoding. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95, 393-408.
  • ♦ Gentner, D., & Namy, L. (1999). Comparison in the development of categories. Cognitive Development, 14, 487-513.
  • ♦ Gentner, D., & Rattermann, M. J. (1991). Language and the career of similarity. In S. A. Gelman & J.P. Byrnes (Eds.), Perspectives on language and thought: Interrelations in development, (pp. 225-277). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • ♦ Gick, M. L., & Holyoak, K. J. (1983). Schema induction and analogical transfer. Cognitive Psychology, 15, 1-38.
  • ♦ Kotovsky, L., & Gentner, D. (1996). Comparison and categorization in the development of relational similarity. Child Development, 67, 2797-2822.
  • ♦ Kurtz, K. J., Miao, C., & Gentner, D. (2001). Learning by analogical bootstrapping. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 10, 417-446.
  • ♦ Loewenstein, J. & Gentner, D. (2005). Relational language and the development of relational mapping. Cognitive Psychology, 50(4), 315-353.
  • ♦ Loewenstein, J., & Gentner, D. (2001). Spatial mapping in preschoolers: Close comparisons facilitate far mappings. Journal of Cognition & Development, 2, 189-219.
  • ♦ Oakes, L. M. & Ribar, R. J. (2005). A comparison of infants' categorization in paired and successive presentation familiarization tasks. Infancy, 7(1), 85-98.
  • ♦ Vosmik, J.R., & Presson, C.C. (2004). Children's response to natural map misalignment during wayfinding. Journal of Cognition & Development, 5, 317-336.
  • ♦ Zur, O. (2005) Analogical reasoning as a learning mechanism in the domain of number. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, April.

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