Leaping across the mental canyon: Analogical retrieval across disparate task domains


The present study provides evidence for far analogical retrieval, i.e., analogical retrieval across disparate task domains, as a result of analogical comparison. Participants read source stories, which were then retrieved after a filled delay through abstract letter-string cues that matched the relational form of key parts of stories. They then generated responses to an ambiguous letter-string analogy problem. Evidence was found for far analogical retrieval of higher- order relations because 1. comparison of letter-string analogies cued source stories specific to the relations showed in the letter-strings, and then 2. those same relations formed the basis for how subjects solved novel letter-string problems. The experiment offers support for the schema induction account of analogical retrieval, and suggests that people are more sensitive to relational structures than was previously thought.

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