Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Testing

By Roy Freedle | Go to book overview

6
Issues for a Theory of Analogical Learning

Mark Burstein BBN Laboratories

Beth Adelson Tufts University


1. INTRODUCTION

Researchers in artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology have recently begun to focus more attention on the study of analogical reasoning and its role in learning and problem solving. Much of this work has focused on studies of the mapping process ( Burstein, 1986; Carbonell, 1986; Falken hainer , 1987; Gentner, 1983; Thagard & Holyoak, 1985; Winston, 1982). These theories of analogical reasoning all take as central that an underlying conceptual model from a familiar source or base domain is mapped to an unfamiliar target domain. The mapping places objects (concepts) and relations between objects in the source into correspondence with counterparts in the target. Learning then occurs when the mapping supports the construction of new relations between target objects, or suggests that additional objects are involved.

Motivating our research is the observation that mapping is a central process in analogical learning; what can be derived from any given analogical example is limited by what has been mapped. Because mapping is a foundation of analogical learning, analogical learning theories need to specify the mapping process in detail.

Our approach to specifying mapping is based on the fact that one typically knows a large amount about a familiar domain, and, as a result, what is mapped is constrained by the purpose of the analogy ( Burstein, 1983, 1985; Burstein & Adelson, 1987; Kedar-Cabelli, 1985; Holyoak, 1985; Winston, 1983). The aspects of the target domain that need to be explained are those that are relevant to the current situation; the problem currently needing to be solved strongly motivates and constrains the use of a particular analogy.

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