What Meaning Means for Same and Different: A Comparative Study in Analogical Reasoning


The acquisition of relational concepts plays an integral role and is assumed to be a prerequisite for analogical reasoning. Language and token-trained apes (e.g. Premack, 1976; Thompson, Oden, and Boysen, 1997) are the only nonhuman animals to succeed in solving and completing analogies, thus implicating language as the mechanism enabling the phenomenon. In the present study, I examine the role of meaning in the analogical reasoning abilities of three different primate species. Humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus monkeys completed relational match-to-sample (RMTS) tasks with either meaningful or nonmeaningful stimuli. For human participants, meaningfulness facilitated the acquisition of analogical rules. Individual differences were evident amongst the chimpanzees suggesting that meaning can either enable or hinder their ability to complete analogies. Rhesus monkeys did not succeed in either condition, suggesting that their ability to reason analogically, if present at all, may be dependent upon a dimension other than the representational value of stimuli. INDEX WORDS: Analogical reasoning, Analogies, Meaning, Relational concepts, Same/different, Nonhuman primates WHAT MEANING MEANS FOR SAME AND DIFFERENT: A COMPARATIVE STUDY IN ANALOGICAL REASONING

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@inproceedings{Flemming2015WhatMM, title={What Meaning Means for Same and Different: A Comparative Study in Analogical Reasoning}, author={Timothy Michael Flemming and David A. Washburn and Michael Beran and Eric Vanman and Heather M. Kleider and Roger K. R. Thompson}, year={2015} }