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Individual differences in assessing problem similarity

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Abstract:

This paper reports on a study which investigates the potential influence of perceptual differentiation (PD) ability on introductory accounting students' ability to identify and use analogies to solve problems. Accounting students with differing levels of PD ability first studied two sample problems with solutions which provided potential source analogues for analogical transfer. They then attempted to solve two analogous accounting problems differing only in the criteria for identifying problem analogousness. Findings suggest that PD ability may influence a problem solver's ability to identify analogous problems by affecting which problem features (surface or structural) he or she is likely to attend to and use for assessing problem similarity and potential analogousness. The paper concludes by discussing implications for pedagogical practices in accounting.

Keywords: ANALOGICAL TRANSFER; PERCEPTUAL DIFFERENTIATION ABILITY; PROBLEM SIMILARITY; PROBLEM SOLVING; STRUCTURAL FEATURES; SURFACE FEATURES

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/096392899330946

Publication date: June 1, 1999

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