What is free association and what does it measure?

Nelson, Douglas, McEvoy, Cathy and Dennis, Simon (2000) What is free association and what does it measure?. Memory and Cognition, 28 6: 887-899. doi:10.3758/BF03209337

Author Nelson, Douglas
McEvoy, Cathy
Dennis, Simon
Title What is free association and what does it measure?
Journal name Memory and Cognition   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1532-5946
Publication date 2000-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3758/BF03209337
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 28
Issue 6
Start page 887
End page 899
Total pages 13
Editor Morton Ann Gernsbacher
Place of publication Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
Publisher The Psychonomic Society Inc
Language eng
Subject C1
380102 Learning, Memory, Cognition and Language
780108 Behavioural and cognitive sciences
Abstract This paper reports the results of a study of free association in which participants were asked to produce the first two words to come to mind. The findings were used to estimate the reliability of indices of strength and set size for different types of items and to model free association as a retrieval task. When confined to first responses, reliability was generally high for both indices, particularly for words with smaller sets of associates and stronger primaries. When second responses were included, reliability declined. A second response added new but weak items to the set, and, when the primary associate was not produced on the first opportunity, it bended not to be produced on the second. Relative to when multiple responses are requested, first-response free association provides more reliable indices of the relative strength and set size for a word's strongest associates. A model of free association assuming that a strength distribution underlies each response provided a good fit to the data.
Keyword Memory Retrieval
Free Association
Memory Modelling
Psychology, Experimental
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Psychology Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 89 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 0 times in Scopus Article
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Tue, 10 Jun 2008, 21:40:21 EST