The Role of Comparison in Social Cognition

Christian Hoyos, Dedre Gentner, Theodore Bach, Andrew Meltzoff, Stella Christie, Valerie San Juan, Patricia Ganea, William Horton

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


How does comparison affect the way we think of others? Comparison has been shown to be a powerful learning tool in a variety of conceptual domains, ranging from basic spatial relations, to concepts in algebra and heat flow (e.g., Gentner, 2010). Comparison recruits a structure-mapping process that highlights common relational structure between two situations. It helps novice learners see meaningful similarities and differences which can then be transferred to novel situations. This process can help infants and children move beyond the particular features of any one situation and gain a more abstract understanding of complex concepts. While comparison has been established as an important tool in cognitive development, less work has illustrated how it may function as a key process in the social domain. The goal of this symposium will be to show how these benefits of comparison can also influence the development of social cognition.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society
EditorsPaul Bello, Marcello Giarini, Marjorie McShane, Brian Scassellati
PublisherCognitive Science Society
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-0-9911967-0-8
StatePublished - 2014


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