Does “Different” Imply a Difference? A Comparison of Two Tasks

Eyal Sagi, Dedre Gentner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


One of the most interesting predictions of structure-mapping theory (Gentner, 1983) is that differences are more easily identified when the comparison involves stimuli that are easily aligned. Evidence for this claim comes from studies in which participants state differences between stimuli pairs (e.g. Gentner & Markman, 1994). These results are at odds with results from tasks in which participants are asked to determine whether pairs of images differ or not. In such tasks, it is often found that participants are faster to make such a determination when the images differ than when they are similar (Luce, 1986). However, comparing these results is difficult because the two lines of research employ different experimental designs and methodologies. This paper describes two experiments that contrast the two results within the same framework in an attempt to examine more closely the differences between the tasks.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsRon Sun, Naomi Miyake
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-0-9768318-2-2
StatePublished - 2006


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