Analogical Reasoning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Analogies can serve a variety of functions. They may provide us with new inductive inferences about a novel situation. Analogies represent a category of similar items that is abstract, as they are based on relations among items that need not be visible perceptually. When we see objects as similar, this can be based on lower-order features, such as having similar visual properties, colors, or shapes. Situations that occur over time may be seen as similar on the basis of the relationships among items, objects etc. that share common relational properties. The more remote the distance becomes between source and target analogs, the more difficulty we tend to have retrieving an appropriate analog. The purpose of an analogy will often be a determining factor about its properties. Structural correspondences come in many forms, but we need a reason to draw an analogy. Sometimes this will lead to a calculated thought experiment, such as when we consider the possible similarities between international wars that occurred over different time periods. Analogies have many purposes, and these may be linked to the distance and depth characteristics of these comparisons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReasoning
Subtitle of host publicationThe Neuroscience of how we Think
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780128092859
ISBN (Print)9780128095768
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Alignable differences
  • Analogical mapping
  • Analogical retrieval
  • Analogies
  • Induction
  • Insight
  • Non-alignable differences
  • Relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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