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Analogical reasoning in working memory: Resources shared among relational integration, interference resolution, and maintenance

Abstract

We report a series of experiments using a pictorial analogy task designed to manipulate relational integration, interference resolution, and active maintenance simultaneously. The difficulty of the problems was varied in terms of the number of relations to be integrated, the need for interference resolution, and the duration of maintenance required to correctly solve the analogy. The participants showed decreases in performance when integrating multiple relations, as compared with a single relation, and when interference resolution was required in solving the analogy. When the participants were required to integrate multiple relations while simultaneously engaged in interference resolution, performance was worse, as compared with problems that incorporated either of these features alone. Maintenance of information across delays in the range of 1–4.5 sec led to greater decrements in visual memory, as compared with analogical reasoning. Misleading information caused interference when it had been necessarily attended to and maintained in working memory and, hence, had to be actively suppressed. However, sources of conflict within information that had not been attended to or encoded into working memory did not interfere with the ongoing controlled information processing required for relational integration. The findings provide evidence that relational integration and interference resolution depend on shared cognitive resources in working memory during analogical reasoning.

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Correspondence to Soohyun Cho.

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Preparation of the article was supported by a fellowship from the Kwanjeong Educational Foundation to S.C., by NIH Grants MH072613 to K.J.H., and MH06579 to T.D.C., and by a gift to the UCLA Foundation from the Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health.

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Cho, S., Holyoak, K.J. & Cannon, T.D. Analogical reasoning in working memory: Resources shared among relational integration, interference resolution, and maintenance. Memory & Cognition 35, 1445–1455 (2007). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193614

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Keywords

  • Work Memory
  • Analogical Reasoning
  • Relational Integration
  • Interference Level
  • Relevant Trait