Dedre Gentner

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Dedre Gentner is an American cognitive and developmental psychologist, who is the Alice Gabriel Twight Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University. She is a leading researcher in the study of analogical reasoning.[1]


Gentner has contributed in developing a sophisticated model of analogy use - the manner by which new situations are dealt with through adaptation based on previous experiences or similar situation that transpired in the past.[2]

Her work on structure-mapping theory was foundational for the development of the structure mapping engine by Ken Forbus. This involves the mapping of knowledge from one domain into another or from the base to the target for the purpose of guiding reasoning, to develop conjectures, and to generalize experiences into abstract schema.[3] Gentner also maintained that this theory of analogy can be used to model other subprocesses in analogical reasoning.[4] She also coined the kind world hypothesis, claiming that superficial properties usually tell a lot about the structural features of the object: "If something looks like a tiger, it probably is a tiger". For this reason, she argued that due to the environment in which humans have evolved, risk avoidance became a top priority so that the cost of missing a truly deep analogy is preferable than the risk of overlooking a real danger.[5]

Gentner was awarded the 2016 Rumelhart Prize for Contributions to the Theoretical Foundations of Human Cognition.


The following are in-print books by Gentner; see her home page for further publications.

  • The Analogical Mind: Perspectives from Cognitive Science by Dedre Gentner (Editor), Keith J. Holyoak (Editor), Boicho Kokinov (Editor), ISBN 0-262-57139-0
  • Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought, by Dedre Gentner (Editor), Susan Goldin-Meadow (Editor), ISBN 0-262-57163-3
  • Mental Models (Cognitive Science (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).), by Albert L. Stevens, Dedre Gentner, ISBN 0-89859-242-9
  • Proceedings Thirteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, by Cognitive Science Society, Kristian J. Hammond (Editor), Dedre Gentner (Editor), ISBN 0-8058-1138-9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography of Dedre Gentner". The David E. Rumelhart Prize For Contributions to the Theoretical Foundations of Human Cognition. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  2. ^ Thagard, Paul (2005). Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science, Second Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 77. ISBN 0262201542.
  3. ^ Pereira, Francisco Câmara (2007). Creativity and Artificial Intelligence: A Conceptual Blending Approach. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. p. 69. ISBN 9783110186093.
  4. ^ Vosniadou, Stella; Ortony, Andrew (1989). Similarity and Analogical Reasoning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 197. ISBN 0521362954.
  5. ^ Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Volume 66. Cambridge, MA: Academic Press. 2017. p. 20. ISBN 9780128121184.

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