Relational words as handles: they bring along baggage

Son, J. Y., & Goldstone, R. L. (2005). Relational words as handles: They bring along baggage. Proceedings of the Twenty-seventh Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (pp. 2050-2055)

Two experiments examined the role of relational language on analogical transfer. Participants were taught Signal Detection Theory (SDT) embedded in a doctor story. In the experimental condition, relational words accompanied the story. Relational words that shared superficial similarity with the contextual elements facilitated transfer. Without the shared semantics, relational words were detrimental to transfer performance. A computational model lends a more structured perspective on how language changes cognition.

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