Integrating analogical mapping and general problem solving: the path-mapping theory


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This article describes the path-mapping theory of how humans integrate analogical mapping and general problem solving. The theory posits that humans represent analogs with declarative roles, map analogs by lower-level retrieval of analogous role paths, and coordinate mappings with higher-level organizational knowledge. Implemented in the ACT-R cognitive architecture, the path-mapping theory enables models of analogical mapping behavior to incorporate and interface with other problem-solving knowledge. Path-mapping models thus can include task-specific skills such as encoding analogs or generating responses, and can make behavioral predictions at the level of real-world metrics such as latency or correctness. We show that the path-mapping theory can successfully account for the major phenomena addressed by previous theories of analogy. We also describe a path-mapping model that can account for subjects' incremental eye-movement and typing behavior in a story-mapping task. We discuss extensions and implications of this work to other areas of analogy and problem-solving research.