Enabling spontaneous analogy through heuristic change

Ormerod, Tom and MacGregor, James N (2017) Enabling spontaneous analogy through heuristic change. Cognitive Psychology, 99. pp. 1-16. ISSN 0010-0285

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Abstract

Despite analogy playing a central role in theories of problem solving, learning and education, demonstrations of spontaneous analogical transfer are rare. Here, we present a theory of heuristic change for spontaneous analogical transfer, tested in four experiments that manipulated the experience of failure to solve a source problem prior to attempting a target problem. In Experiment 1, participants solved more source problems that contained an additional financial constraint designed to signal the inappropriateness of moves that maximized progress towards the goal. This constraint also led to higher rates of spontaneous analogical transfer to a superficially similar problem. Experiments 2 and 3 showed that the effects of this constraint extend to superficially and structurally different analogs. Experiment 4 generalized the finding to a non-analogous target problem that also benefitted from inhibiting maximizing moves. The results indicate that spontaneous transfer can arise through experience during the solution of a source problem that alters the heuristic chosen for solving both analogical and non-analogical target problems.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Transfer; Insight; Problem-solving; Heuristics
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2017 12:53
Last Modified: 28 Nov 2017 10:51
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/70537

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