Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

Relational and lexical similarity in analogical reasoning and recognition memory: Behavioral evidence and computational evaluation.


We examined the role of different types of similarity in both analogical reasoning and recognition memory. On recognition tasks, people more often falsely report having seen a recombined word pair (e.g., flower: garden) if it instantiates the same semantic relation (e.g., is a part of) as a studied word pair (e.g., house: town). This phenomenon, termed relational luring, has been interpreted as evidence that explicit relation representations-known to play a central role in analogical reasoning-also impact episodic memory. We replicate and extend previous studies, showing that relation-based false alarms in recognition memory occur after participants encode word pairs either by making relatedness judgments about individual words presented sequentially, or by evaluating analogies between pairs of word pairs. To test alternative explanations of relational luring, we implemented an established model of recognition memory, the Generalized Context Model (GCM). Within this basic framework, we compared representations of word pairs based on similarities derived either from explicit relations or from lexical semantics (i.e., individual word meanings). In two experiments on recognition memory, best-fitting values of GCM parameters enabled both similarity models (even the model based solely on lexical semantics) to predict relational luring with comparable accuracy. However, the model based on explicit relations proved more robust to parameter variations than that based on lexical similarity. We found this same pattern of modeling results when applying GCM to an independent set of data reported by Popov, Hristova, and Anders (2017). In accord with previous work, we also found that explicit relation representations are necessary for modeling analogical reasoning. Our findings support the possibility that explicit relations, which are central to analogical reasoning, also play an important role in episodic memory.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View