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Analogies can aid learners in understanding a new domain,
yet misunderstandings may occur if they are applied too broadly.
The present studies examined transfer of two types of information.
Participants read analogical source and target stories. The source
stories in Experiments 1 - 3 included two additional sentences that
could be transferred to the target. One of the sentences was
related to the analogical structure, while the other was more
arbitrary. Participants transferred the structure-related information
significantly more often than the arbitrary information both when
retrieving source stories from memory (Experiment 1) and when
having access to them (Experiment 2) . Participants in Experiment
3 were explicitly encouraged to consider both types of information
for transfer. Results showed the structure-related information was
selected as the appropriate transfer sentence. Experiment 4
examined the possibility that reading both types of information in
the source stories influenced transfer rates. Some participants
received stories with both the structure-related and arbitrary
information while others received stories with only one type of
information. Again, participants transferred the structure-related
information to a greater extent than the arbitrary information.
Furthermore, no differences in transfer were found between
participants who received both types of information in the source
domain versus those who received only one type of information.
Overall, the results of the studies provide evidence that learners
will preferentially transfer information related to the shared
analogical structure.