Accession Number : ADA115300

Title :   Flowing Waters or Teeming Crowds: Mental Models of Electricity.

Descriptive Note : Technical rept.,

Corporate Author : BOLT BERANEK AND NEWMAN INC CAMBRIDGE MA

Personal Author(s) : Gentner,Dedre ; Gentner,Donald R

PDF Url : ADA115300

Report Date : May 1982

Pagination or Media Count : 81

Abstract : Analogical comparisons are commonly used in the discussion and teaching of scientific topics. This paper explores the conceptual role of analogy. We compare two position: (1) the generative analogy hypothesis, that analogies are an imported determinant of the way people think about a domain; (2) the surface terminology hypothesis, that analogies merely provide a convenient vocabulary for describing concepts in the domain. We present evidence from interviews and experimental studies in the domain of simple electronics that when using analogies, people map conceptual structures from one domain to another. This important conceptual structure is shown to influence inferences a person makes about the target domain. These results support the generative analogy hypothesis.

Descriptors :   *Analogies, *Mental ability, *Perception(Psychology), *Electricity, Hypotheses, Reasoning, Comparison, Models, Theory, Mapping, Comprehension, Experimental data

Subject Categories : Psychology
      Electricity and Magnetism

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE