Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 270–276

Properties of the organization of memory for people: Evidence from dream reports

Brief Reports

DOI: 10.3758/BF03194063

Cite this article as:
Schweickert, R. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2007) 14: 270. doi:10.3758/BF03194063


Steyvers and Tenenbaum (2005) showed that semantic networks for words have three organizational properties: short average path lengths, high clustering, and power law degree distribution. If these are general properties of memory organization, they would apply to memory for other complex material, including people and relations between them. In addition, if during dreaming, characters are generated via knowledge in the dreamer’s memory, the three properties would be found in a relational network of characters in dreams. In dream reports from three individuals, two characters in the same dream were considered affiliated. Resulting social networks have the three properties, with the power law holding when low degrees are omitted. One network with a treelike outline is different from the other two. Results suggest associative memory has the three properties, and demonstrate that dream reports are a potentially valuable source for information about social networks.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesPurdue UniversityWest Lafayette

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