Analogies May Not be as Cognitively Demanding as Previously Assumed: Evidence from a Dual-Task Paradigm with Gradually Increasing Cognitive Load

AbstractMaking analogies is considered to depend on executive functions. We examined the role of the central executive in solving pictorial cross-mapping problems while generating random digits ranging 1-3 for one group of subjects, and 1-9 for another. We used three indices assessing different aspects of randomness and a self-report measure to evaluate the effect of the concurrent task. Subjects who had to generate digits between 1 and 9 perceived the task to be harder but still produced more random sequences than those in the smaller-range condition. Although the manipulation of cognitive load was successful, no difference was observed in the proportion of relational responses to the cross-mapping task, suggesting that analogies may not be as cognitively demanding as otherwise assumed. We also provide correlational support for the influence of individual differences in fluid intelligence on relational mapping abilities.

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