Structure mapping in the comparison process

Arthur B. Markman*, Dedre Gentner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Carrying out similarity and analogy comparisons can be modeled as the alignment and mapping of structured representations. In this article we focus on three aspects of comparison that are central in structure-mapping theory. All three are controversial. First, comparison involves structured representations. Second, the comparison process is driven by a preference for connected relational structure. Third, the mapping between domains is rooted in semantic similarity between the relations that characterize the domains. For each of these points, we review supporting evidence and discuss some challenges raised by other researchers. We end with a discussion of the role of structure mapping in other cognitive processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-538
Number of pages38
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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