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ERIC Number: EJ1055989
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Comparison Promotes Learning and Transfer of Relational Categories
Kurtz, Kenneth J.; Boukrina, Olga; Gentner, Dedre
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n4 p1303-1310 Jul 2013
We investigated the effect of co-presenting training items during supervised classification learning of novel relational categories. Strong evidence exists that comparison induces a structural alignment process that renders common relational structure more salient. We hypothesized that comparisons between exemplars would facilitate learning and transfer of categories that cohere around a common relational property. The effect of comparison was investigated using learning trials that elicited a separate classification response for each item in presentation pairs that could be drawn from the same or different categories. This methodology ensures consideration of both items and invites comparison through an implicit same-different judgment inherent in making the two responses. In a test phase measuring learning and transfer, the comparison group significantly outperformed a control group receiving an equivalent training session of single-item classification learning. Comparison-based learners also outperformed the control group on a test of far transfer, that is, the ability to accurately classify items from a novel domain that was relationally alike, but surface-dissimilar, to the training materials. Theoretical and applied implications of this comparison advantage are discussed.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR); National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York
Grant or Contract Numbers: N00014- 02-1-0040