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Our Research Catalogue contains grants and outputs data up until April/May 2014.

Profiling the mental lexicon: Psycholinguistic phenotyping of lexical retrieval preferences through an analysis of word association behaviour

  • Start date: 04 October 2010
  • End date: 30 June 2012

This project uses word association response data to investigate lexical retrieval processes.  The study uses a taxonomy of response types to create individual participant profiles reflecting that person's preferred lexical access routes. The linguistic frameworks used to process the data are complemented with analytic techniques from genetics research. 

These data are part of a larger set collected from the same participants, and therefore offer a number of analytic approaches.  Firstly, because the data used are genetically informative (from identical and non-identical twins), response patterns related to heredity and environment can be identified.  Secondly, because the data are from two age cohorts, adolescents and over-65s, age-related variations in response behaviour can be examined.  Thirdly, cognitive test data will be used to investigate links between cognitive function and association behaviour.

Project findings will be relevant to medical and educational contexts.  Improved understanding of semantic and lexical networks can inform the diagnosis and treatment of aphasias, dementia and schizophrenia.  Identifying differences in associative links of the two age cohorts will contribute to a "healthy ageing" profile which can be used in screening for cognitive decline.  Enhanced understanding of individual differences in preferred lexical association routes will inform language learning and testing techniques.