Towards a Theory of Thinking

Part of the series On Thinking pp 35-48


Analogical Processes in Human Thinking and Learning

  • Dedre GentnerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Northwestern University Email author 
  • , Julie ColhounAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Northwestern University

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Much of humankind’s remarkable mental aptitude can be attributed to analogical ability - the ability to perceive and use relational similarity. In this chapter, we present an overview of analogy and describe its component processes, including structural alignment and inference projection, evaluation, schema abstraction and re-representation. We discuss how these component processes lead to learning and the generation of new knowledge, and review evidence that suggests that greater use of analogy during learning can improve relational retrieval and transfer.