Using analogical model formulation with sketches to solve Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test problems

Matthew Klenk*, Kenneth D Forbus, Emmett Tomai, Hyeonkyeong Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


One of the central problems of artificial intelligence is capturing the breadth and flexibility of human common sense reasoning. One way to evaluate common sense is to use versions of human tests that rely on everyday reasoning. The Bennett Mechanical Comprehension Test consists of everyday reasoning problems posed via pictures and is used to evaluate technicians. This test is challenging because it requires conceptual knowledge spanning a broad range of domains, experience with a wide variety of everyday situations, and spatial reasoning. This article describes how we have extended our Companion Cognitive Architecture, which treats analogical processing as central, to perform well over a subset of the Bennett test. We introduce analogical model formulation as a robust method for reasoning about everyday scenarios, by analogy with cases that represent prior experiences. This enables a companion to perform qualitative reasoning (QR) without a complete domain theory, as typically required for QR. We introduce sketch annotations to communicate linkages between visual and conceptual properties in sketches. We introduce analogical reference frames to enable comparative analysis to operate over a broader range of problems than prior techniques. We show that these techniques enable a companion to score reasonably well on a difficult subset of the Bennett test.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-327
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Analogical reasoning
  • qualitative reasoning
  • sketch understanding
  • test-based AI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence


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