We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Analogical Reasoning?

Allison Boelcke
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Analogical reasoning is a method of processing information that compares the similarities between new and understood concepts, then uses those similarities to gain understanding of the new concept. It is a form of inductive reasoning because it strives to provide understanding of what is likely to be true, rather than deductively proving something as fact. This method can be used by both children and adults as a way to learn new information or as part of a persuasive argument.

The reasoning process begins by a person determining the target domain, or the new idea to be learned or explained. It is then compared to a general matching domain, or an idea that is already well-understood. The two domains must be similar enough to make a valid, substantial comparison. Specific qualities are chosen that belong to the matching domain, then related items are searched for in the target domain to tie the two domains together. For example, food’s effect on the human body can be an analogy to gasoline’s effect on a car because they are both responsible for making entities function correctly.

Analogical reasoning is based on the brain’s ability to form patterns by association. The brain may be able to understand new concepts more easily if they are perceived as being part of a pattern. If a new concept is compared to something the brain already knows, it may be more likely that the brain will store the new information more readily.

The study of the process and effectiveness of analogical reasoning is applied to many fields. Since analogies demonstrate the likelihood of similarities rather than factually proving them, lawyers may use analogical arguments during cases that don’t have a lot of evidence. Such an argument points out a similarity shared by two ideas or objects, then uses that shared similarity to argue that the ideas are likely to have other things in common as well. For example, a lawyer may form an analogy between his or her client and a past court trial for the same offense where the person was found not guilty. Since the circumstances of the charges are similar, a lawyer will argue the outcomes should be similar as well.

The field of science also uses this type of reasoning, but it is used for coming up with new concepts rather than for persuasion. Scientists will often compare a proven scientific process with an unproven one to form hypotheses to base new research on. They may reason that because two processes are similar in one way, they may be more likely to have more things in common.

Psychologists often focus on the cognitive aspects of reasoning. They may perform research to determine how and why the brain retains information through analogies. Psychologists may also study the differences between how children and adults use them.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Allison Boelcke
By Allison Boelcke , Former Writer
Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By behaviourism — On Jan 22, 2011

The risk of analogies is to make sure you are not falling prey to inductive reasoning, which often does not consider what is not really obviously visible.

By stolaf23 — On Jan 21, 2011

Another part of reasoning by analogy is that people generally remember things better if they can in some way tie new information to the old information they already know. Things like analogies and sayings are ways for us to associate what we learn with what we know.

Allison Boelcke

Allison Boelcke

Former Writer

Allison Boelcke, a digital marketing manager and freelance writer, helps businesses create compelling content to connect with their target markets and drive results. With a degree in English, she combines her writing skills with marketing expertise to craft engaging content that gets noticed and leads to website traffic and conversions. Her ability to understand and connect with target audiences makes her a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.