Distributed Representations of Structure: A Theory of Analogical Access and Mapping

John E. Hummel, Keith J. Holyoak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article describes an integrated theory of analogical access and mapping, instantiated in a computational model called LISA (Learning and Inference with Schemas and Analogies). LISA represents predicates and objects as distributed patterns of activation that are dynamically bound into prepositional structures, thereby achieving both the flexibility of a connectionist system and the structure sensitivity of a symbolic system. The model treats access and mapping as types of guided pattern classification, differing only in that mapping is augmented by a capacity to learn new correspondences. The resulting model simulates a wide range of empirical findings concerning human analogical access and mapping. LISA also has a number of inherent limitations, including capacity limits, that arise in human reasoning and suggests a specific computational account of these limitations. Extensions of this approach also account for analogical inference and schema induction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-466
Number of pages40
JournalPsychological review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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