Analogical transfer beyond the analog

Dublin Core


Analogical transfer beyond the analog


Radhika Kuppanda




Analogical problem solving involves transferring the method used to solve the base analog onto the target analog based on the structural similarity they share. Studies have found that Experts have no difficulty in solving domain specific analogical problems. While, novice problem solvers fail to solve such problems due to their difficulty in retrieving the base analog. Failure to recollect the correct base analog forces the problem solver to solve the problem in an act first think later manner. They use number of maximizing moves within the problem space to reach the goal state quickly. Use of such maximizing moves in solving analogical problems leads to an impasse, while alternative moves must be sought out. The current study tries to overcome the problem of retrieval of the correct base analog, by implementing an additional factor termed as extra constraint in solving analogical problem. These extra constraint acts in a manner which inhibit the problem solver from choosing problem moves that aim to maximizing their progress to reach the goal state which must essentially be avoided in analogical problem solving tasks. A secondary aim focuses on examining if there exists’ any difference between an adolescent problem solver and adult problem solver. Method: A total of 64 Participants within the age group of, 12-15 and 18-21 years were administered three problems (2 analogical and 1 non analogical). Results: Results demonstrate that the predictor variables (age or money) were not able to predict that participants from the older age category would perform better than the younger age group on any of the problems. Based on second aim, results showed that the older age group able to solve more problems successfully than the younger age group.


analogical transfer
insight problem solving
extra constraints
developmental differences
maximization of progress


The test materials consisted of paper and pencil tasks (see appended booklet). Each Participant was provided with a booklet which consisted of a set of 5 problems, comprising three experimental tasks and two filler tasks. The first problem was the analogical source problem (sheep dog problem), followed by a filler task (anagram solution). The second problem was the transfer problem (9 ball problem), followed by a second filler task (algebra solution). The last problem was the non-analog problem (cheap necklace problem). There was space provided under each of the problems to allow the participant to work out the solution to each problem. Solutions to each of the problems were also given for the participants.

Design and Procedure

The study design comprised of a two between-subjects factors. The first factor is Age (12-15; 18-21 years). The second factor is Resource (£8 vs. £12). The dependent variable was the number of correct solutions. The aim of the research was to assess whether to two predictor variables, age and money would predict whether the participant would solve the problem correctly or incorrectly.

As per the BPS rules, confidentiality and anonymity of participants were strictly maintained. The study was conducted in a classroom setting with 16 participants being administered the problems at a time. Each participant from each age group was first assigned to low or high resource conditions. 50 % of the participants from older and younger age group received low resource condition (8 pounds) and other 50% high resource condition (12 pounds). Participants received the booklet containing the 3 problems and 2 filler tasks. Each participant was given 5 minutes to attempt each problem. After five minutes, the solution to each problem is shown. The problems contained in the booklet are as follows:
¥ Source problem (killer dog)
¥ Filler task(anagrams)
¥ Transfer problem (ball problem- £8 or £12 versions);
¥ Filler task(algebra)
¥ Non-analogical problem (cheap necklace).


Lancaster University






John Towse











Tom Ormerord

Project Level



Cognitive Psychology

Sample Size

The study was conducted on a total of 64 participants divided into-
Adolescents (12-15 years) - comprised of 32 participants recruited from schools.
Adult age group (18-21 years) - comprised of 32 participants recruited from colleges.

Statistical Analysis Type

logistic regression




Radhika Kuppanda, “Analogical transfer beyond the analog,” LUSTRE, accessed January 25, 2021,