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Far-Out Thinking


Is it possible to induce a mind-set that will affect relational thinking in a subsequent reasoning task involving unrelated materials? We investigated whether evaluating the validity of verbal analogies (Experiment 1a) or generating solutions for them (Experiment 1b) could induce a relational mind-set that would transfer to an unrelated picture-mapping task. The verbal analogies were based on either near or far semantic relations. We found that generating (but not evaluating) solutions for semantically distant analogies increased the proportion of relational mappings on the transfer task, even after we controlled for fluid intelligence and response time. Solving near analogies did not produce transfer. Generation of solutions to far analogies appears to provide a potent method for triggering a mind-set that can enhance relational thinking in a different task.

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