ERIC Number: EJ781843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Feb
Reference Count: 0
The Micro-Category Account of Analogy
Green, Adam E.; Fugelsang, Jonathan A.; Kraemer, David J. M.; Dunbar, Kevin N.
Cognition, v106 n2 p1004-1016 Feb 2008
Here, we investigate how activation of mental representations of categories during analogical reasoning influences subsequent cognitive processing. Specifically, we present and test the central predictions of the "Micro-Category" account of analogy. This account emphasizes the role of categories in aligning terms for analogical mapping. In a semantic priming paradigm, a four-word analogy task was compared to two other four-word tasks. Stimuli were identical in all tasks; only the instructions given to participants differed. Participants were instructed to identify analogy relations, category relations, or conventionalized semantic relations in the four-word sets. After each four-word set, a single target word appeared and participants named this word aloud. Target words that referred to category relations in the preceding four-word sets were primed as strongly when participants identified analogies as when participants identified categories, suggesting that activation of category concepts plays an important role in analogical thinking. In addition, priming of category-referent words in the analogy and category tasks was significantly greater than priming of these words when participants identified conventionalized semantic relations. Since identical stimuli were used in all conditions, this finding indicates that it is the activation of category relations, distinct from any effect of basic semantic association, that causes analogical reasoning to prime category-referent words. We delineate how the "Micro-Category" account of analogy predicts these phenomena and unifies findings from diverse areas of research concerning analogical reasoning.
Descriptors: Stimuli, Semantics, Logical Thinking, Semiotics, Cognitive Processes, Classification, Models, Word Recognition, Language Processing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
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