Effects of comparison and explanation on analogical transfer


Edwards, B. J., Williams, J. J., Gentner, D., & Lombrozo, T. (2014). Effects of comparison and explanation on analogical transfer. P. Bello, M. Guarini, M. McShane, & B. Scassellati (Ed.), Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society.


Although comparison and explanation have typically been studied independently, recent work suggests connections between these processes. Three experiments investigated effects of comparison and explanation on analogical problem solving. In Experiment 1, explaining the solutions to two analogous stories increased spontaneous transfer to an analogical problem. In Experiment 2, explaining a single story promoted analogical transfer, but only after receiving a hint that may have facilitated comparison. In Experiment 3, irrelevant stories were interspersed among the two story analogs to block unprompted comparison; prompts to compare were effective, but prompts to explain were not. This pattern suggests that effects of explanation on analogical transfer may be greatest when combined with comparison.

Last updated on 02/05/2019