Toward a Formal Model of the Shifting Relationship between Concepts and Contexts during Associative Thought

  • Tomas Veloz
  • Liane Gabora
  • Mark Eyjolfson
  • Diederik Aerts
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7052)


The quantum inspired State Context Property (SCOP) theory of concepts is unique amongst theories of concepts in offering a means of incorporating that for each concept in each different context there are an unlimited number of exemplars, or states, of varying degrees of typicality. Working with data from a study in which participants were asked to rate the typicality of exemplars of a concept for different contexts, and introducing a state-transition threshold, we built a SCOP model of how states of a concept arise differently in associative versus analytic (or divergent and convergent) modes of thought. Introducing measures of expected typicality for both states and contexts, we show that by varying the threshold, the expected typicality of different contexts changes, and seemingly atypical states can become typical. The formalism provides a pivotal step toward a formal explanation of creative thought processes.


Associative thought concepts context dependence contextual focus creativity divergent thinking dual processing SCOP 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomas Veloz
    • 1
  • Liane Gabora
    • 1
  • Mark Eyjolfson
    • 1
  • Diederik Aerts
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaKelownaCanada
  2. 2.Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary StudiesVrije Universiteit BrusselBelgium

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