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Gentner Named Alice Gabrielle Twight Professor

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January 31, 2008 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Dedre Gentner, professor of psychology and education and social policy at Northwestern University, has been named the Alice Gabrielle Twight Professor.

Her research interests are cognition and language in learning and development, in particular the processes of similarity, analogy and metaphor, and acquisition of word meaning.

Gentner is director of Northwestern's Cognitive Science Program, which includes more than 100 associated faculty from the disciplines of psychology, computer science, linguistics, neuroscience, learning sciences, music, communication studies, management and organizations, anthropology and philosophy.

She is co-principal investigator of the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center, which brings together scientists and educators from Northwestern and Temple University, the University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania. The center was created with a $3.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Gentner is known for her work in analogical reasoning and structure-mapping theory, the mechanism allowing much of experiential learning to take place. With Kenneth Forbus, Northwestern professor of computer Science and education at Northwestern, Gentner co-developed the Structure-Mapping Engine, a model of analogy-making.

She has co-edited three books, "Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought," "The Analogical Mind," and "Mental Models."

A fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 1999, Gentner was a faculty member of the University of Washington and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The author of numerous journal articles, she joined Northwestern's faculty in 1990.