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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. James Clerk Maxwell Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K. http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001

  6. Maxwell’s Subsequent Model Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K. http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001

  7. Our Hypothesis: Generic Abstraction Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K. http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Symbols Are Mapped Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K. http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. System: Galatea Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K. http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001

  19. Maxwell’s Case Davies, J., Nersessian, N. J., & Goel, A. K. http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~jimmyd/research/visual-analogy/ March 2001

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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