Word Association Tests of Associative Memory and Implicit Processes: Theoretical and Assessment Issues

Document Type

Book Chapter


Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Word association is one of the most commonly used measures of association in cognitive science. These tests have been used to infer association parameters in normative studies, to derive cues and primes used in diverse paradigms (semantic priming, cued recall, illusory memory), to test implicit memory in experimental studies, and to suggest the operation of implicit processes in nonexperimental work. This chapter briefly outlines some of the historical routes and current controversies about association and summarizes basic cognitive research applying associative tests. The authors then describe benefits and limitations of the tests, as well as implications for theory and interventions on drug use. This chapter briefly outlines some of the historical routes of word association and then summarizes several of the major streams of basic cognitive research revealing the value of these tests.

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© 2006 SAGE Publications