Visual analogy in scientific discovery
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Visual Analogy in Scientific Discovery. Jim Davies, Nancy J. Nersessian, Ashok K. Goel {jimmyd, nancyn, [email protected] Program in Cognitive Science Georgia Institute of Technology. Outline. Background: where these ideas are coming from Our computational analysis

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Visual analogy in scientific discovery

Visual Analogy in Scientific Discovery

Jim Davies, Nancy J. Nersessian, Ashok K. Goel

{jimmyd, nancyn, [email protected]

Program in Cognitive Science

Georgia Institute of Technology

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Outline
Outline

  • Background: where these ideas are coming from

  • Our computational analysis

  • How our visual analogy theory contributes back to cognitive science

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Background cognitive historical analysis
Background: Cognitive-historical Analysis

  • Focuses on the creation, change, and communication of representations of nature (Nersessian 1994).

  • Sources of data for cognitive history are things like: diaries, notebooks, publications, correspondence, equipment, drawings, diagrams, and pedagogical notes.

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Cognitive historical analysis of james clerk maxwell
Cognitive-historical Analysis of James Clerk Maxwell

  • Nersessian did an extensive study of Maxwell’s writings and his context

  • She reviewed the relevant psychological research (e.g. Analogy, mental models)

  • This lead to hypotheses about conceptual change and scientific reasoning

  • Conceptual change as problem solving

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


James clerk maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Maxwell s subsequent model
Maxwell’s Subsequent Model

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Our hypothesis generic abstraction
Our Hypothesis: Generic Abstraction

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


What is the nature of the source analog
What Is the Nature of the Source Analog?

  • The solution very much looks like an idle wheel from a gear system.

  • Maxwell’s knowledge of gear systems allowed him to generate an abstract model of spinning wheels with idle wheels between them.

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Gear system retrieval hypothesis
Gear System Retrieval Hypothesis

  • This generic abstraction representation visually resembled the model of the gears system in memory.

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Computational models
Computational Models

  • Bhatta & Goel (1997).

    • Computational work on generic abstraction, e.g. Generic Teleological Mechanisms for devices

  • Griffith et al. (2000).

    • Analysis of a problem solving protocol

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


System galatea
System: Galatea

  • Davies & Goel (2001) created a model (Galatea) of visual analogical problem solving for Duncker’s radiation/tumor problem.

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


This work
This Work

  • This work combines the Nersessian’s Cognitive-Historical analysis of the Maxwell case with the computational theory of visual analogy from Davies and Goel.

  • The computational theory will flesh out, contribute to, and test our hypotheses about Maxwell’s case.

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Visual analogy
Visual Analogy

  • Visual analogy is analogy with visual elements

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Symbols are mapped
Symbols Are Mapped

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Primitive visualization language privlan
Primitive Visualization Language (Privlan)

  • Primitive visual elements (privels)

    • Circle, line, generic visual element

  • Primitive visual transformations (privits)

    • Add-component, decompose-line, move

  • Symbolic images (simages)

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Privels
Privels

  • Circle (size, location)

  • Line (thickness, start point, end point)

  • Generic-Visual-Element (size, location)

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Privits
Privits

  • Decompose-line (object, number)

  • Add-component (kind)

  • Move (object, new-location)

  • Put-between (object, object1, object2)

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


System galatea1
System: Galatea

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Maxwell s case
Maxwell’s Case

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Cognitive contributions
Cognitive Contributions

  • Our computational theory of visual analogy has been applied to two examples, supporting Privlan and the simage representation structure.

  • We conjecture that visual representations and generic abstractions are useful for a wide variety of problem-solving instances, within scientific discovery and without.

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Conclusions
Conclusions

  • The cognitive-historical approach can contribute to our understanding of general cognitive processes

  • Visual analogy was generative in the development of Maxwell’s models

  • Visual analogy can be useful for problem solving

  • Privlan provides a useful level of abstraction for analogy

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


Thank you
Thank you

  • http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research /visual-analogy/

Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K.

http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001


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