Processing Differences as a Function of Item Difficulty in Verbal Analogy Performance

Drew H. Gitomer, Mary E. Curtis, Robert Glaser, Denise B. Lensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Research based on componential models of analogical reasoning has typically been based on relatively easy items. Differences between individuals have been ascribed to execution efficiency of component processes within a single model. In the present study, we evaluated processing of verbal analogies by recording eye fixation patterns during problem solution. Problems represented a broad range of levels of difficulty. The findings on easier problems replicated previous work. On more difficult items, however, high verbal individuals tended to adapt their processing strategies to a much greater extent than did low verbal students. Skill differences were not attributable to initial encoding of the item, but rather to more thorough re-encoding of the stem and answers by the high verbal subjects. Current models cannot account for all individuals on all items when experimental items are more representative of aptitude test items. Instead, more complex models that incorporate both person and item characteristics need to be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-219
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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