Guest Lecture & Workshop by Assoc. Prof. Penka Hristova, PhD (New Bulgarian University)

19. April

MEi:CogSci together with the CEEPUS network "Cognitive Science, Knowledge Studies, and Knowledge Technologies" and the Vienna Cognitive Science Hub are happy to invite you to the following talk and workshop by
Assoc. Prof. Penka Hristova, PhD (New Bulgarian University)
Talk: Foundations of relational luring: accessibility, typicality and relational roles

  • Date: April 19, 2024, 11:30 - 13:00
  • Location: Lecture hall HS 3C (University of Vienna, Universitätsstr. 7 (NIG), 3rd floor)

Workshop: Analogies shaped by emotions

  • Date: April 19, 2024, 13:15 - 18:00
  • Location: Lecture hall HS 3D (University of Vienna, Universitätsstr. 7 (NIG), 3rd floor)
  • If you intend to participate in the workshop, please send an email to by April 17, 2024.

Talk Abstract:  

Relational luring has proven to be a valuable phenomenon for studies of relational representation in LTM. It shows slower correct recognition and more false alarms for word pairs (nurse hospital) that instantiate an old relation (works in) with a new example (waiter restaurant). Thus, hinting at a representation of semantic relation independent of its constituents, i.e., the words in the pair.

The relational luring effect is replicated in different languages and with different types of relations. It is taken as a benchmark for various computational models aiming to capture the underlying relational learning and representation through different mechanisms. It is also better accounted for by models that rely on explicit relational rather than role-based representation, which has been the subject of a long-standing debate in analogies.The talk will focus on the accessibility and typicality of relations, both found to enhance the relational luring effect. The argument will thus be made that semantic relations have an internal structure, which gives rise to these effects similarly to concepts of entities. But unlike entity concepts, relations are not explicitly represented in current models of LTM memory, and the relational luring effect requires filling this theoretical gap.Workshop Abstract:Analogies are a complex cognitive mechanism that allows transfer between different domains.  It underpins the transfer of knowledge within and between domains and hence helps in discovery, categorization, creativity, abstraction and the solution of novel problems. In all these cases, emotions are present in one way or another and the workshop will focus on arousal as a key component of emotional states and on anxiety as a specific emotion that accompanies analogical problem-solving in novel situations.

The main question is whether and through what cognitive mechanisms emotions change analogical mapping as the key defining subprocess of analogy-making.  In particular how the observed changes correspond to the main factors of analogical reasoning and relational discovery such as attention, executive control and access to relationally similar knowledge. Finally, what might be the implications of research on analogies in a state of physiological arousal for understanding the cognitive underpinnings of analogies.

The plan is as follows:
1.      A working definition of analogies and their basic subprocesses, among some behavioural tasks commonly used in analogy-making research.
2.      Key cognitive factors supporting analogies.
3.      Key findings and controversies from research on analogies in anxiety/arousal/stress conditions.
4.      Discussion of possible mechanisms by which analogies may be influenced by emotional states.

short CV:
Penka Hristova is an Associate Professor at the Department of Cognitive Science and Psychology at New Bulgarian University. She teaches courses in cognitive psychology, thinking, memory and research methods at both undergraduate and graduate levels.
She holds a Master's degree in Cognitive Science and a PhD in General Psychology. Her dissertation research focused on contextual effects on judgment and, in particular, on the mechanism by which irrelevant information can shift the so-called comparison set and therefore the final judgment. Her main research interests are in the cognitive mechanisms underlying analogy-making, relational representation and categorization. Specifically, she focuses on (1) how cognitively demanding analogical mapping, relational priming, and relational encoding are as key subprocesses for analogies, (2) what is the LTM representational substrate that drives analogies, and (3) how emotions change the underlying mechanisms of analogy making. In her research, she favours behavioural experiments using simple measures such as accuracy, RT, and d'. Her applied work is primarily in the field of education (primary and secondary education), seeking to improve the acquisition of transferable knowledge and advance high-level reasoning as a form of relational reasoning.

If you intend to participate in the workshop, please send an email to by April 17, 2024.