A new mechanism for transfer between conceptual domains in scientific discovery and education

Foundations of Science 5 (2):129-155 (2000)
Abstract
Confronted with problems or situations that do not yield toknown theories and world views, scientists and students are alike. Theyare rarely able to directly build a model or a theory thereof. Rather,they must find ways to make sense of the circumstances using theircurrent knowledge and adjusting what is recognized in the process. Thisway of thinking, using past ways of perceiving the physical world tobuild new ones does not follow a logical path and cannot be described astheory revision. Likewise, in many situations it is awkward, indeedoften impossible, to resort to analogical reasoning to account for it.This paper presents a new mechanism, called `tunnel effect', that mayexplain, in part, how scientists and students reason while constructinga new conceptual domain. `Tunnel effect' is also contrasted withanalogical reasoning.
Keywords analogy  conceptual learning  reasoning  scientific discovery  teaching of physics  transfer mechanism
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