Analogical Reasoning in Children
By Usha Goswami
Psychology Press – 1993 – 168 pages
Analogical reasoning is a fundamental cognitive skill, involved in classification, learning, problem-solving and creative thinking, and should be a basic building block of cognitive development. However, for a long time researchers have believed that children are incapable of reasoning by analogy. This book argues that this is far from the case, and that analogical reasoning may be available very early in development. Recent research has shown that even 3-year-olds can solve analogies, and that infants can reason about relational similarity, which is the hallmark of analogy.
The book traces the roots of the popular misconceptions about children's analogical abilities and argues that when children fail to use analogies, it is because they do not understand the relations underlying the analogy rather than because they are incapable of analogical reasoning. The author argues that young children spontaneously use analogies in learning, and that their analogies can sometimes lead them into misconceptions. In the "real worlds" of their classrooms, children use analogies when learning basic skills like reading, and even babies seem to use analogies to learn about the world around them.
`According to Piaget and many other researchers, it is not until adolescence that a child can be expected to solve a classical analogy such as: "The seventh inning stretch is to baseball as the tea break is to ULULULUL." In this gracefully written and informative book, Usha Goswami challenges this long-standing view. The book has many strengths, the foremost of which is that Goswami has a coherent position that she states clearly. The book is very well organized and well written: the main claim of each chapter is stated forthrightly at the beginning and reviewed at the end of the chapter. The readability of the book is facilitated by Goswami's nonencyclopedic approach and her judicious selection of representative research on analogy.' - Judy S. DeLoache in Contemporary Psychology, 1995.
`In sum, it is an interesting book, clearly written and full of imagination, recommended even to those who are not very concerned with analogies or with children.' - Pablo Fernandez (University of Malaga) in the European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 1994.
Reasoning by Analogy. Structural Theories of Analogical Development. Testing the Claims of Structural Theory. Information-Processing Accounts of Classical Analogical Reasoning. Problem Analogies and Analogical Development. Analogies in Babies and Toddlers. Analogies in the Real World of the Classroom.