Resistance is futile: The unwitting insertion of analogical inferences in memory

David A. Perrott*, Dedre Genter, Galen V. Bodenhausen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Analogical inferences can modify people's understanding, but can this occur even when the inferences are unpalatable? We report two experiments suggesting that this is the case. Participants read a source passage on the role and status of gay people in society. Half then read an analogy describing the historical persecution of left-handers. On a subsequent recognition test, the participants who read the analogy were more likely than the control participants to misrecognize analogical inferences as statements explicitly presented, but the two groups did not differ in recognition rates for other kinds of statements. A priori explicit attitudes toward gays did not moderate these findings, although the participants with more positive attitudes toward gays saw the analogy to left-handers as more sound. Our findings demonstrate that analogical inferences can be seamlessly integrated into mental representations of the target domain even when those inferences are unpalatable; in short, resistance to analogy is futile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-702
Number of pages7
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin and Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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