TCD-CS-93-28 .. Keane M.T.

Adaptation as a Selection Constraint On Analogical Mapping.

December 1993.


In any given analogy, there are potentially a large number of possible mapping interpretations. One of the key issues in analogy research is how one of these mappings comes to be selected as optimal and used as the basis for the analogical comparison. It is well-established that structural factors, notably systematicity, can act as selection constraints on mapping. The present work tests to see if pragmatic and adaptation factors can also act as selection constraints on mapping. The selection of a mapping based on pragmatic factors proposes that people can exploit the higher-order, schematic structure of a domain to select one mapping over another. With respect to adaptation factors, the proposal is that a mapping will be selected if it is evaluated as being easily adapted relative to other competing mappings. Both of these predictions are tested in a novel, problem solving paradigm. The main finding is that adaptation factors do act as a selection constraint but that pragmatic factors do not. The implications of these results for computational models of analogy are discussed.

Keywords: Analogy, Mapping, Adaptation, Problem Solving, Thinking.

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