Pressler, Shirley J. (2001) Verbal analogy test performance benefits following relational focus instruction. Proceedings of the British psychological society, 9 (1). p. 6. ISSN 1350-472X

The notion that the analogical process is ‘higher order driven’, or is reliant on the development of ‘abstract’ reasoning, is challenged. The research used a transfer and generalisation of training paradigm, in keeping with a ‘lower-order’ driven, or ‘equivalence’ matching model, of analogical reasoning. Relational focus between pairs of words, later embedded within tests of verbal analogies, was trained. This study also considered a variety of relation types, and level of abstractness within relation type. The benefits of training were in keeping with an ‘equivalence’, or lower order driven model of analogy, since partial knowledge outcomes were best explained by this model. The findings were also in keeping with a metacognitive framework, reflected in awareness of relational focus and optimal level of relational difficulty influences. Overall, the work is in keeping with knowledge based accounts of analogy, contradicting the Piagetian notion of age-related step – wise qualitative increases in ‘abstract’ abilities.

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