Bootstrapping the mind: Analogical processes and symbol systems

Dedre Gentner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

343 Scopus citations


Human cognition is striking in its brilliance and its adaptability. How do we get that way? How do we move from the nearly helpless state of infants to the cognitive proficiency that characterizes adults? In this paper I argue, first, that analogical ability is the key factor in our prodigious capacity, and, second, that possession of a symbol system is crucial to the full expression of analogical ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)752-775
Number of pages24
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Analogical learning
  • Bootstrapping
  • Cognitive development
  • Language and cognition
  • Structure-mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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