Implicit Analogies in Learning: Supporting Transfer by Warming Up

Pooja G. Sidney, Clarissa A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Analogies between old and new concepts are common during classroom instruction. Previous transfer studies focused on how features of initial learning guide later, spontaneous transfer to new problem solving. We argue for a shift in the focus of analogical-transfer research toward understanding how to best support analogical transfer from previous learning when children are engaged in new learning episodes. Such research may have important implications for teaching and learning in mathematics, which relies heavily on analogies between old and new information. Some existing research promotes supporting explicit connections across old and new information within an analogy. Alternatively, we argue that teachers can invite implicit analogical reasoning through warm-up activities designed to activate relevant prior knowledge. Warm-up activities close the transfer space between old and new learning without additional direct instruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-625
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • analogy
  • mathematics learning
  • transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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