I guess I should have read the papers before posting :-) It's very good to know that these issues have been considered in depth.
Are you aware of www.wordassociations.org? Although as far as I know this dataset has not been exploited academically, they appear to have gathered many millions of responses (using the single-response paradigm - although if you play with the interface you will see that it is vulnerable to what you call chaining in a slightly different guise).
Justin Washtell University of Leeds
________________________________________ From: corpora-bounces at uib.no [corpora-bounces at uib.no] On Behalf Of Marc Brysbaert [marc.brysbaert at ugent.be] Sent: 15 February 2012 13:16 To: corpora at uib.no Subject: Re: [Corpora-List] a worldwide word association test
Thank you for these questions/replies. People interested in this topic may want to read the papers by De Deyne and Storms on similar studies in Dutch, in which the pros and the cons of the three associates are discussed and analyzed:
Kind regards, marc brysbaert
-----Original Message----- From: Himanshu Sharma [mailto:himanshu.sharma.rocky at gmail.com] Sent: 15 February 2012 14:04 To: Justin Washtell Cc: Marc Brysbaert; corpora at uib.no Subject: Re: [Corpora-List] a worldwide word association test
I also thought of the same thing while responding in the experiment. Since the experiment is not a psychological one (I hope it's not), thus the effect that Mr.Washtell talks about is somewhat deteriorating the quality the word association data collected.
But asking for a single response may limit the number of association that a word gets to the set of most common ones. For Ex. "Shirt" would probably be associated with "Buttons" , "collars" , "clothes" etc. and not with something unusual like "Washing Powder". I don't know if responses such as "Washing Powder" play a role in word association study, but surely one can establish relations between any two words via long routes. Thus even after taking selection bias of 1st and 2nd response on the 3rd response into account, the responses do establish an association (may be a somewhat far fetched one). May be a weighted association and providing a sequence of response filling (1st field -> 2nd field -> 3rd field) (that Mr.Washtell talked about) would be a better approach .
Regards , Himanshu Sharma
On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 5:52 PM, Justin Washtell <lec3jrw at leeds.ac.uk> wrote:
> I found this incarnation of the word association experiment a little unnatural. **Perhaps it is best not to read on at this stage if you're planning on having a go at it, just in case I influence you!!**
> For each word the user is asked to provide three responses, one below the last, which arise "spontaneously" from the cue word. I think its fair to say that personally I never had three responses all come to mind simultaneously, such that I could hold them in my mind and then fill out the boxes. Rather, I'd have one arrive (which I might then fill in) and then I'd have to "allow" my mind to come up with another and so on.
> What I found however was that my latter responses tended to be influenced by my previous responses, and in some cases were only very tenuously associated with the original cue word, or not at all (e.g. awake -> alive -> kicking; idea -> thought -> provoke). I then found myself in the peculiar situation of consciously fighting this urge... and also of course wondering whether perhaps I shouldn't do such a thing. To be fair, the experimenters do provide the option of writing "no response", and I did this a few times when I was in doubt.
> I wonder then if the experimenters are accounting for this effect (I hope it is not just me!) Presumably the box to which a response belongs is being recorded, so if the second and third responses are indeed coloured by this sort of effect then it can be observed, and perhaps even factored out if it is not in keeping with the aims of the study. But what if users fill the boxes in some other arbitrary or even random order, as opposed to top-to-bottom like I did? More generally, I wonder whether the task of trying to be alert for three simultaneous responses may make this a more of a conscious task and colour the types of responses garnered.
> I'd be interested to hear others thoughts having attempted the task.
> On a related note, there is a similar experiment which has been running for some years now at www.wordassociation.org<http://www.wordassociation.org>. I did make a few attempts to tried to contact the creator, to try and obtain the (substantial) data for my PhD thesis, but had no luck. Does anybody know anything about this?
> Justin Washtell
> University of Leeds
> From: corpora-bounces at uib.no [corpora-bounces at uib.no] On Behalf Of Marc Brysbaert [marc.brysbaert at ugent.be]
> Sent: 15 February 2012 10:07
> To: corpora at uib.no
> Subject: [Corpora-List] a worldwide word association test
> Dear all,
> Gert Storms and Simon De Deyne are running a worldwide word association test in English. Thus far they have over 1.25 million responses, but they require many more in order to have enough spontaneously produced associates to all known English words. The data will be made available to all researchers, just like the Florida norms, so that we can use them for our studies and include them in our computational models. Would it be possible to forward the call to your colleagues and students? The task itself only takes 5 minutes and involves giving associates to a few target words.
> Many thanks in advance, marc brysbaert
> From: Gerrit Storms [mailto:Gert.Storms at ppw.kuleuven.be]
> Sent: 15 February 2012 10:55
> To: Marc Brysbaert
> Subject: word associations
> Dear Marc,
> Can I ask you a little favor?
> Over the past few months, we have been trying to set up a scientific study that is important for many researchers interested in words, word meaning, semantics, and cognitive science in general. It is a huge word association project, in which people are asked to participate in a small task that doesn't last longer than 5 minutes. Our goal is to build a global word association network that contains connections between about 40.000 words, the size of the lexicon of an average adult. Setting up such a network might teach us a lot about semantic memory, how it develops, and maybe also about how it can deteriorate (like in Alzheimer's disease). Most people enjoy doing the task, but we need thousands of participants to succeed. Up till today, we found about 40,000 participants willing to do the little task, but we need more responses. That is why we address you. Would it be possible to forward this call for participation to graduate and undergraduate students who are fluent in English?
> The task can be found at
> Of course the network will be freely available to all interested language researchers when it becomes substantial enough.
> We thank you in advance.
> If you want more information, don't hesitate to contact me.
> With kind regards,
> Prof. G. Storms and Dr. S. De Deyne
> Department of Psychology
> University of Leuven
> Tiensestraat 102
> 3000 Leuven
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