Establishing the reliability of word association data for investigating individual and group differences

FITZPATRICK, Tess, PLAYFOOT, David, WRAY, Alison and WRIGHT, Margie (2015). Establishing the reliability of word association data for investigating individual and group differences. Applied Linguistics, 36 (1), 23-50.

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This paper argues that, across different psychological contexts, the methods of data collection, treatment and analysis in word association tests have hitherto been inconsistent. We demonstrate that this inconsistency has resulted from inadequate control, in previous studies, of certain important variables including the basis of norm comparisons, and we present a principled method for collecting, scoring and analysing association responses, to address these issues. The method is evaluated using test and retest datasets from 16-year-old and over-65-year-old twins (n=636), which enable us to (a) compare samples matched for key environmental variables, (b) assess the transferability of norming information between age cohorts, and (c) evaluate the reliability of the scoring protocols. We find systematic differences in the association behaviour of the two age cohorts, indicating the importance of evaluating data only against norms lists which are matched to the target population. Individual association behaviour is found to be consistent across test times, both in terms of response stereotypy and response type.

Item Type: Article
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Published as Gold open access. Paid by ESRC Gold voucher.

First published online: September 24, 2013

Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Psychology Research Group
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Page Range: 23-50
Depositing User: David Playfoot
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2014 10:28
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 14:04

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