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Dedre Gentner

Dedre Gentner is Professor of Psychology and Education and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Northwestern University.

Titles by This Editor

Advances in the Study of Language and Thought

The idea that the language we speak influences the way we think has evoked perennial fascination and intense controversy. According to the strong version of this hypothesis, called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis after the American linguists who propounded it, languages vary in their semantic partitioning of the world, and the structure of one's language influences how one understands the world. Thus speakers of different languages perceive the world differently.

Although the last two decades have been marked by extreme skepticism concerning the possible effects of language on thought, recent theoretical and methodological advances in cognitive science have given the question new life. Research in linguistics and linguistic anthropology has revealed striking differences in cross-linguistic semantic patterns, and cognitive psychology has developed subtle techniques for studying how people represent and remember experience. It is now possible to test predictions about how a given language influences the thinking of its speakers.

Language in Mind includes contributions from both skeptics and believers and from a range of fields. It contains work in cognitive psychology, cognitive development, linguistics, anthropology, and animal cognition. The topics discussed include space, number, motion, gender, theory of mind, thematic roles, and the ontological distinction between objects and substances. The contributors include Melissa Bowerman, Eve Clark, Jill de Villiers, Peter de Villiers, Giyoo Hatano, Stan Kuczaj, Barbara Landau, Stephen Levinson, John Lucy, Barbara Malt, Dan Slobin, Steven Sloman, Elizabeth Spelke, and Michael Tomasello.

Perspectives from Cognitive Science

Analogy has been the focus of extensive research in cognitive science over the past two decades. Through analogy, novel situations and problems can be understood in terms of familiar ones. Indeed, a case can be made for analogical processing as the very core of cognition. This is the first book to span the full range of disciplines concerned with analogy. Its contributors represent cognitive, developmental, and comparative psychology; neuroscience; artificial intelligence; linguistics; and philosophy.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part describes computational models of analogy as well as their relation to computational models of other cognitive processes. The second part addresses the role of analogy in a wide range of cognitive tasks, such as forming complex cognitive structures, conveying emotion, making decisions, and solving problems. The third part looks at the development of analogy in children and the possible use of analogy in nonhuman primates.

Contributors:
Miriam Bassok, Consuelo B. Boronat, Brian Bowdle, Fintan Costello, Kevin Dunbar, Gilles Fauconnier, Kenneth D. Forbus, Dedre Gentner, Usha Goswami, Brett Gray, Graeme S. Halford, Douglas Hofstadter, Keith J. Holyoak, John E. Hummel, Mark T. Keane, Boicho N. Kokinov, Arthur B. Markman, C. Page Moreau, David L. Oden, Alexander A. Petrov, Steven Phillips, David Premack, Cameron Shelley, Paul Thagard, Roger K. R. Thompson, William H. Wilson, Phillip Wolff.