The Roles of Similarity in Transfer: Determinants of Similarity-Based Reminding and Mapping
ILLINOIS UNIV AT URBANA-CHAMAPIGN
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Similarity is generally agreed to be important in transfer. But recent research suggests that its roles are more complex than was originally thought. The present research attempts to isolate and compare the determinants of similarity-based access to memory and the determinants of the subjective soundness of a similarity match. In three studies, subjects first read a large set of stories. Later, they were given new stories that resembled the original stories in different ways. Some of the matches were structural analogs of the first scenarios, while others were surface matches, sharing object attributes but not higher-order relational structure. Subjects were told to write out any of the original stories that came to mind. After completing the reminding task, subjects rated all the story pairs for soundness i.e., how well inferences true of one story would apply to the other. Structure-mapping theory predicts that soundness will be determined by the degree of structural overlap, including that among higher-order relational structure.
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