Analogical Processes in Human Thinking and Learning

  • Dedre GentnerEmail author
  • Julie Colhoun
Part of the On Thinking book series (ONTHINKING)


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.


Relational Structure Structural Alignment Alignment Process Object Match Progressive Alignment 
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.



This research was funded by ONR Grant N00014-08-1-0040. Correspondence concerning this chapter should be addressed to or Dedre Gentner, Psychology Department, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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