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Visual Analogy in Scientific Discovery. Jim Davies, Nancy J. Nersessian, Ashok K. Goel {jimmyd, nancyn, goel}@cc.gatech.edu 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, goel}@cc.gatech.edu

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