Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 1201-1209

First online:

Effect of tuned parameters on an LSA multiple choice questions answering model

  • Alain LifchitzAffiliated withLIP6-DAPA, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, CNRS Email author 
  • , Sandra Jhean-LaroseAffiliated withÉquipe CHArt, EPHE-CNRS
  • , Guy DenhièreAffiliated withÉquipe CHArt, EPHE-CNRS


This article presents the current state of a work in progress, whose objective is to better understand the effects of factors that significantly influence the performance of latent semantic analysis (LSA). A difficult task, which consisted of answering (French) biology multiple choice questions, was used to test the semantic properties of the truncated singular space and to study the relative influence of the main parameters. A dedicated software was designed to fine-tune the LSA semantic space for the multiple choice questions task. With optimal parameters, the performances of our simple model were quite surprisingly equal or superior to those of seventh- and eighthgrade students. This indicates that semantic spaces were quite good despite their low dimensions and the small sizes of the training data sets. In addition, we present an original entropy global weighting of the answers’ terms for each of the multiple choice questions, which was necessary to achieve the model’s success.