Vosniadou, Stella and Andrew Ortony (eds.)
Similarity and Analogical Reasoning
New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989
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From the Cover   Contents
This interdisciplinary volume explores current developments in research and theory from psychological, computational, and educational perspectives, and considers their implications for learning and instruction. Well-known cognitive scientists examine the psychological processes involved in reasoning by similarity and analogy, the computational problems encountered in simulating analogical processing in problem solving, and the conditions promoting the application of analogical reasoning in everyday situations.
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Introduction. Similarity and analogical reasoning: A synthesis. Stella Vosniadou and Andrew Ortony.

Part I. Similarity and the structure of concepts

Part II. Analogical reasoning Part III. Similarity and analogy in development, learning, and instruction Afterword: Comments on Parts I, II, and III: A framework for a theory of comparison and mapping. Allan Collins and Mark Burstein.

Chapter Abstracts

Rips, Lance J. Similarity, typicality, and categorization. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 21-59.

Abstract: (from the chapter) what I (author) would like to argue is this: even if we grant that people have a stable sense of resemblance or similarity and even if we can give this sense a correct psychological description, similarity still will not be either necessary or sufficient for dealing with all object categories; as long as we stick to the ordinary meaning of similiarity--the meaning that it has for nonexperts--then similarity will not be enough to explain human concepts and categories; present evidence from a set of experiments in which subjects were asked either to categorize an instance or to judge its similarity with respect to two potential categories; claim that there are factors that affect categorization but not similarity and other factors that affect similarity but not categorization.

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Smith, Edward E. and Daniel N. Osherson. Similarity and decision making. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 60-75.

Abstract: (from the chapter) illustrate K & T's (Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky) basic contribution to decision making by describing three of their best known cases; consider some limitations of their analyses; use a model of similarity and prototypes to specify representations and processes that are relevant to decisions based on similarity; show that this model provides a richer account of K & T's three cases than does their purely descriptive, noncomputational approach; show how our account can be extended to deal with choice problems.

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Barsalou, Lawrence W. Intraconcept similarity and its implications for interconcept similarity. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 76-121.

Abstract: (from the chapter) the first section reviews demonstrations of instability in category representation, and the second reviews more systematic attempts at assessing just how unstable category representations are; the third section considers seven possible accounts of instability, and the fourth presents a retrieval-based framework for viewing the dynamic character of human knowledge; in the context of this framework, the fifth section introduces the concept of intraconcept similarity, namely, the similarity between different representations of the same category; the sixth section concludes by considering various implications of intraconcept similarity for interconcept similarity, the similarity between representations of different categories.

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Michalski, Ryszard S. Two-tiered concept meaning, inferential matching, and conceptual cohesiveness. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 122-145.

Abstract: (from the chapter) we hypothesize that processes of assigning meaning to individual concepts recognized in a stream of information, or of retrieving them from memory to express an intended meaning are instrinsically inferential and involve, on a smaller scale, the same types of inference--deductive, analogical, and inductive--as processes of applying and constructing knowledge in general; the main goal of this chapter is to sketch ideas and underlying principles for constructing an adequate cognitive model of human concepts.

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Smith, Linda B. From global similarities to kinds of similarities: The construction of dimensions in development. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 146-178.

Abstract: (from the chapter) propose that early in development we understand the similarities between objects in terms of two dimensionally nonspecific relations: global resemblances and global magnitude; distinct kinds of relations of sameness (overall similarity, identity, part identity, and dimensions) and distinct kinds of relations of magnitude (global polarity, greater-than, less-than, and dimensionally specific directions of difference) are hypothesized to emerge in a structured way from the more global beginnings.

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Medin, Douglas L. and Andrew Ortony. Psychological essentialism. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 179-195.

Abstract: (from the chapter) we consider the implications of the distinction between the more accessible, surface, aspects of representations and the less accessible, deeper, aspects for the nature of similarity and its role in cognition; we shall argue that, although it can be a powerful heuristic for various cognitive tasks, there are limitations to using similarity with respect only to surface properties and that there are problems with ignoring the relation between surface similarity and deeper properties.

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Gentner, Dedre. The mechanisms of analogical learning. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 199-241.

Abstract: (from the chapter) the plan of the chapter is, first, to describe the core structure-mapping theory of analogical mapping, using a computer simulation to make the points clear; second, to offer psychological evidence for the core theory of analogical mapping; and, finally, to discuss research that extends the framework to the larger situation of analogical learning... in this chapter I have suggested that different kinds of similarity participate differently in transfer; in particular, I have proposed decomposing similarity into subclasses of analogy, mere-appearance, and literal similarity and transfer into subprocesses of access, mapping, storing inferences, and extracting commonalities.

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Holyoak, Keith J. and Paul R. Thagard. A computational model of analogical problem solving. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 242-266.

Abstract: (from the chapter) in this chapter we will describe a model of analogical problem solving embedded within a cognitive architecture intended to capture some of the flexibility of human intelligence; the analogical problem-solving model is part of a larger effort in which we have been investigating problem solving and learning in the context of a computer program called PI, for processes of induction; general aim is to integrate a set of learning mechanisms with a set of performance mechanisms for solving problems and generating explanations; we will describe some of the similarities and differences between PI and other models of cognition and analogy.

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Anderson, John R. and Ross Thompson. Use of analogy in a production system architecture. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 267-297.

Abstract: (from the chapter) we are concerned with how analogy is involved in problem solving and in skill acquisition; our analysis of problem solving sees knowledge organized into function and form... in this chapter we will first describe our knowledge representation, which is factored into a function-form structure; we will describe how the analogy process operates on this to fill in missing function and form; we will discuss the knowledge compilation process, which operates on the trace of an analogy process to produce new productions (i.e., acquire skill); we will discuss some issues associated with placing this process into a more general framework of skill acquisition; PUPS (PenUltimate Production System) in which the analogy mechanism is implemented.

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Rumelhart, David E. Toward a microstructural account of human reasoning. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 298-312.

Abstract: (from the chapter) show that three of the most common aspects of reasoning can be naturally and simply produced by distributed memory systems; argued that the memory system naturally supports reasoning by similarity; argued that such a memory system coupled with a prediction system offers an account of reasoning by mental simulation; argued that formal reasoning is essentially the product of carrying out a sequence of perceptual/motor operations on external representations; suggested that these external representations may only be imagined on any particular occasion.

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Johnson-Laird, Philip N. Analogy and the exercise of creativity. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 313-331.

Abstract: (from the chapter) main purpose in this chapter is to establish that psychological theories of analogy have so far failed to take the measure of the problem; the processes underlying the discovery of profound analogies are much harder to elucidate than is generally realized; argue that they cannot be guaranteed by any computationally tractable algorithm; I (author) want to try to establish a taxonomy of analogies and to show that there are some forms of analogy that can be retrieved by tractable procedures.

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DeJong, Gerald. The role of explanation in analogy; or, the curse of an alluring name. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 346-365.

Abstract: (from the chapter) offered a brief framework that distinguishes among some analogies and nonanalogies; distinction hinges on whether or not there is a common abstraction or explanation possible between the source and target analogy components and whether that common abstraction is known to the analogizer.

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Brown, Ann L. Analogical learning and transfer: What develops? Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 369-412.

Abstract: (from the chapter) in the first part of the chapter, I will address the issue of how children's knowledge of the world, and particularly their understanding of possible causal mechanisms, predicts the facility with which they learn and transfer; in the second part of the chapter, I will discuss the conditions of learning that facilitate flexible use of knowledge even in very young children.

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Vosniadou, Stella. Analogical reasoning as a mechanism in knowledge acquisition: A developmental perspective. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 413-437.

Abstract: (from the chapter) first section of this chapter deals with the problem of what analogical reasoning is; it is argued that analogical reasoning involves the identification and transfer of structural information from a known system (the source) to a new and relatively unknown system (the target); two different types of reasoning are discussed, and some of the psychological processes involved in their identification are examined... in the second section, a distinction is drawn between uses of analogical reasoning that require the relevant structure to be part of one's respresentation of the target and cases where analogical reasoning can produce this knowledge; with respect to the developmental question, the main thesis of this chapter is that analogical reasoning is available to children.

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Ross, Brian H. Remindings in learning and instruction. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 438-469.

Abstract: (from the chapter) provide a framework for understanding the occurrence, use, and effects of remindings; consider how remindings might be a useful tool for aiding instruction; main focus will be an examination of remindings during the early learning of a cognitive skill; major part of this chapter presents this framework with elaborations from recent research; consider some of the general characteristics of early learning that emerge from this work, some differences with other proposals, and how remindings might be used in studying other aspects of learning; speculative discussion of how remindings might be used in instruction.

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Bransford, John D., Jeffery J. Franks, Nancy J. Vye, and Robert D. Sherwood. New approaches to instruction: Because wisdom can't be told. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 470-497.

Abstract: (from the chapter) first we consider in more detail the notion that wisdom cannot be told; several sets of experiments will be used to illustrate how instructional procedures that result in learning in the sense of being able to recall relevant information provide no guarantee that people will spontaneously use it later on... second, we discuss some successful attempts to facilitate the spontaneous use of relevant information; these involve the use of problem-oriented learning environments, rather than the mere presentation of factual information; we also present data that suggest that these are similarities in problem-solving requirements... third, we note that assessments of similarities change as a function of the development of expertise and that novices need to become sensitive to features and dimensions that otherwise might escape their attention... finally, we discuss how an emphasis on the importance of noticing relevant features of problem situations can be translated into recommendations for instruction.

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Spiro, Rand J., Paul J. Feltovich, Richard L. Coulson, and Daniel K. Anderson. Multiple analogies for complex concepts: Antidotes for analogy-induced misconception in advanced knowledge acquisition. Vosniadou & Ortony (1989), pp. 498-531.

Abstract: (from the chapter) in the first main section of the chapter we illustrate the danger of misuse of single analogies in the learning of complex concepts; demonstrate several common misconceptions held by medical students that are traceable to a cognitive (and sometimes instructional) overreliance on single analogies; examine the circumstances of learning and instruction that promote the uncritical acceptance and entrenchment of learning based on inadequate analogies... second section of the chapter presents our approach to the use of multiple analogies to capture correctly, yet manageably, the complexity of difficult concepts and illustrates the approach with the example of force production by muscle fibers; in order to mitigate the additional cognitive load that multiple analogies introduce in learning, we describe a technique for context-dependent selective and contingent composite imaging of the productive features of the multiple analogies... in the third major section we present a more detailed picture of the variety of ways that adding analogies can affect the earlier learning outcomes derived from previously encountered analogies; develop a nine-part taxonomy of the functions of new analogies and modifications of old analogies in promoting understanding.

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