Structural Comparison of Cognitive Associative Networks in Two Populations

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Cognitive Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology


The cognitive associative structure of 2 populations was studied using network analysis of free-word associations. Structural differences in the associative networks were compared using measures of network centralization, size, density, clustering, and path length. These measures are closely aligned with cognitive theories describing the organization of knowledge and retrieval of concepts from memory. Size and centralization of semantic structures were larger for college students than for 7th graders, while density, clustering, and mean path length were similar. Findings presented reveal that subpopulations might have very different cognitive associative networks. This study suggests that graph theory and network analysis methods are useful in mapping differences in associative structures across groups.

Rights Information

© 2007 Blackwell Publishing, Inc.