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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. We see the external world as consisting not only of objects and their parts, but also of relations that hold between them. Visual analogy, which depends on similarities between relations, provides a clear example of how perception supports reasoning. Here we report an experiment in which we quantitatively measured the human ability to find analogical mappings between parts of different objects, where the objects to be compared were drawn either from the same category (e.g., images of two mammals, such as a dog and a horse), or from two dissimilar categories (e.g., a chair image mapped to a cat image). Humans showed systematic mapping patterns, but with greater variability in mapping responses when objects were drawn from dissimilar categories. We simulated the human response of analogical mapping using a computational model of mapping between 3D objects, visiPAM (visual Probabilistic Analogical Mapping). VisiPAM takes point-cloud representations of two 3D objects as inputs, and outputs the mapping between analogous parts of the two objects. VisiPAM consists of a visual module that constructs structural representations of individual objects, and a reasoning module that identifies a probabilistic mapping between parts of the two 3D objects. Model simulations not only capture the qualitative pattern of human mapping performance cross conditions, but also approach human-level reliability in solving visual analogy problems. 
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  4. Human reasoning goes beyond knowledge about individual entities, extending to inferences based on relations between entities. Here we focus on the use of relations in verbal analogical mapping, sketching a general approach based on assessing similarity between patterns of semantic relations between words. This approach combines research in artificial intelligence with work in psychology and cognitive science, with the aim of minimizing hand coding of text inputs for reasoning tasks. The computational framework takes as inputs vector representations of individual word meanings, coupled with semantic representations of the relations between words, and uses these inputs to form semantic-relation networks for individual analogues. Analogical mapping is operationalized as graph matching under cognitive and computational constraints. The approach highlights the central role of semantics in analogical mapping. 
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  5. Analogy problems involving multiple ordered relations of the same type create mapping ambiguity, requiring some mechanism for relational integration to achieve mapping accuracy. We address the question of whether the integration of ordered relations depends on their logical form alone, or on semantic representations that differ across relation types. We developed a triplet mapping task that provides a basic paradigm to investigate analogical reasoning with simple relational structures. Experimental results showed that mapping performance differed across orderings based on category, linear order, and causal relations, providing evidence that each transitive relation has its own semantic representation. Hence, human analogical mapping of ordered relations does not depend solely on their formal property of transitivity. Instead, human ability to solve mapping problems by integrating relations relies on the semantics of relation representations. We also compared human performance to the performance of several vector-based computational models of analogy. These models performed above chance but fell short of human performance for some relations, highlighting the need for further model development. 
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