Nonintentional analogical inference in text comprehension

Samuel B. Day*, Dedre Gentner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


We present findings suggesting that analogical inference processes can play a role in fluent comprehension and interpretation. Participants were found to use information from a prior relationally similar example in understanding the content of a later example, but they reported that they were not aware of having done so. These inference processes were sensitive to structural mappings between the two instances, ruling out explanations based solely on more general kinds of activation, such as priming. Reading speed measures were consistent with the possibility that these inferences had taken place during encoding of the target rather than during the later recognition test. These findings suggest that analogical mapping, though often viewed as an explicit deliberative process, can sometimes operate without intent or even awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-49
Number of pages11
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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