Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 598–603 | Cite as

Latent structure in measures of associative, semantic, and thematic knowledge

Brief Reports


There has been much debate about the relation between knowledge for meaning (semantic memory) and knowledge for words in context (associative memory). Many measures of that knowledge exist, but do they all measure the same thing? In this study, scaling, clustering, and factor-analytic techniques were used to reveal the structure underlying 13 variables. Semantic similarity determined from lexicographic measures is shown to be separable from the associative strength determined from word association norms, and these semantic and associative measures are in turn separable from abstract representations derived from computational analyses of large bodies of text. The three-factor structure is at odds with traditional views of word knowledge. The expression of long-term knowledge about words and the concepts they represent may be better viewed in terms of associative, semantic, and thematic information.


Exploratory Factor Analysis Semantic Similarity Semantic Feature Associative Strength Semantic Priming 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTexas Tech UniversityLubbock

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