A componential analysis of the knowledge -strategy interaction in analogical problem -solving

Vytas Joseph Laitusis, Fordham University


The purpose of this research was to investigate the influence of prior knowledge on an analogy problem solving strategy organizing the investigation around the subprocesses of the strategy. A sample of 112 high school freshman and sophomores participated in the study. All of the students were male and participation was voluntary. The students were initially assigned to 1 of 4 treatment groups that differed with respect to the vocabulary and relationship familiarity of a set of analogy problems they were asked to solve. All students received training via a computer based tutorial that taught them a strategy for solving analogy problems of the form A : B :: C : D. The strategy was based on a theory of analogy problem solving that decomposed the process into a series of subprocesses or components. After solving this set of problems they were given a short questionnaire asking them about their perceptions of the solving by components strategy. All students were then asked to solve a second common set of analogy problems then given a second questionnaire to complete. Results indicated that vocabulary and relationship familiarity significantly influenced performance and strategy use. Students who were given problems with less familiar vocabulary and relationships took longer to solve the problems and produced more errors than students given more familiar vocabulary and relationships. These findings were also found at the component level where vocabulary familiarity had a significant effect on encoding (a vocabulary intensive component) whereas relationship familiarity had no effect on encoding. Similar results were found with respect to the relationship familiarity on the three other components that were considered relationship intensive. In terms of strategy use students who were given the less familiar vocabulary and relationships where less likely to use the strategy on a common set of items and found the strategy they used more effortful, less more difficult to use, and more useless that those given the more familiar vocabulary and relationships. The results seemed to indicate that the subprocesses of a problem solving strategy could be decomposed into its component processes and used to make predictions about strategy behavior.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Laitusis, Vytas Joseph, "A componential analysis of the knowledge -strategy interaction in analogical problem -solving" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3084891.