Structure Mapping for Social Learning

Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (3):758-775 (2017)
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Abstract

Analogical reasoning is a foundational tool for human learning, allowing learners to recognize relational structures in new events and domains. Here I sketch some grounds for understanding and applying analogical reasoning in social learning. The social world is fundamentally characterized by relations between people, with common relational structures—such as kinships and social hierarchies—forming social units that dictate social behaviors. Just as young learners use analogical reasoning for learning relational structures in other domains—spatial relations, verbs, relational categories—analogical reasoning ought to be a useful cognitive tool for acquiring social relations and structures.

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