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Memory & Cognition

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 29–38 | Cite as

The relationship of analogical distance to analogical function and preinventive structure: the case of engineering design

  • Bo T. ChristensenEmail author
  • Christian D. Schunn
Article

Abstract

Analogy was studied in real-world engineering design, using the in vivo method. Analogizing was found to occur frequently, entailing a roughly equal amount of within- and between-domain analogies. In partial support for theories of unconscious plagiarism (Brown & Murphy, 1989; Marsh, Landau, & Hicks, 1996) and Ward’s (1994) path-of-least-resistance model, it was found that the reference to exemplars (in the form of prototypes) significantly reduced the number of between-domain analogies between source and target, as compared with using sketches or no external representational systems. Analogy served three functions in relation to novel design concepts: identifying problems, solving problems, and explaining concepts. Problem identifying analogies were mainly within domain, explanatory analogies were mainly between domain, and problem-solving analogies were a mixture of within- and between-domain analogies.

Keywords

Design Object External Support Analogical Reasoning External Representation Medical Plastic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburgh
  2. 2.Department of MarketingCopenhagen Business SchoolFrederiksbergDenmark

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