—associational, adj./euh soh'see ay"sheuhn, -shee-/, n.1. an organization of people with a common purpose and having a formal structure.2. the act of associating or state of being associated.3. friendship; companionship: Their close association did not last long.4. connection or combination.5. the connection or relation of ideas, feelings, sensations, etc.; correlation of elements of perception, reasoning, or the like.6. an idea, image, feeling, etc., suggested by or connected with something other than itself; an accompanying thought, emotion, or the like; an overtone or connotation: My associations with that painting are of springlike days.7. Ecol. a group of plants of one or more species living together under uniform environmental conditions and having a uniform and distinctive aspect.8. Chem. a weak form of chemical bonding involving aggregation of molecules of the same compound.9. See touch football.10. Astron. See stellar association.[1525-35; ( < MF) < ML association- (s. of associatio). See ASSOCIATE, -ION]Syn. 1. alliance, union; society, company; band. 3. fellowship.
* * *IIn psychology, the process of forming mental connections or bonds between sensations, ideas, or memories.Though discussed by the ancient Greeks (in terms of similarities, contrasts, and contiguities), the "association of ideas" was first proposed by John Locke and subsequently examined by David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer, and William James. Ivan Pavlov used objective methods to study the phenomenon, resulting in his identification of the conditioned reflex (see conditioning). Within psychoanalysis, the therapist encourages "free association" in order to help identify latent conflicts. Practitioners of Gestalt psychology and others have criticized associationist theories as too all-embracing, while some theorists of cognitive psychology have made it central to their theory of memory.II(as used in expressions)Association of Southeast Asian NationsYoung Men's Christian AssociationAlgerian Reformist Ulama' Association ofAssociation of Caribbean Statescommercial associationInternational Working Men's AssociationLions Clubs International Association ofLatin American Free Trade Association LAFTANational Association of Securities Dealers Automated QuotationsHoly Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity.National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations.
* * *general psychological principle linked with the phenomena of recollection or memory. The principle originally stated that the act of remembering or recalling (recall) any past experience would also bring to the fore other events or experiences that had become related, in one or more specific ways, to the experience being remembered. Over time the application of this principle was expanded to cover almost everything that could happen in mental life except original sensations. As a result, associationism became a theoretical view embracing the whole of psychology.The concept of an “association of ideas” was first used by English philosopher John Locke (Locke, John) in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). Scottish philosopher David Hume (Hume, David) maintained in A Treatise of Human Nature (1739) that the essential forms of association were by resemblance, by contiguity in time or place, and by cause and effect.In The Principles of Psychology (1890), American philosopher and psychologist William James (James, William) shifted emphasis away from an association of ideas to an association of central nervous processes caused by overlapping or immediately successive stimuli. In 1903 Russian physiologist Ivan P. Pavlov (Pavlov, Ivan Petrovich) theorized that all behaviour could be derived from original and conditioned reflexes.The conditioned-reflex theories and many of the behaviourist theories in the early 20th century stemmed from an association psychology of behaviour, meaning that they were subject to the same criticisms levied against those doctrines of the association of ideas. American psychologist Edward L. Thorndike (Thorndike, Edward L.), for example, showed that mere repetition does little or nothing to establish connections between stimulus and response. Some researchers alleged a direct effect of knowledge of results, while others, such as American psychologist Clark L. Hull (Hull, Clark L.) (Principles of Behavior, 1943), produced a complete account of learning based upon need reduction—that is, reducing the strength of the drive linking stimulus and response under various experimental conditions.While these thinkers did not demand the rejection of associationist principles, they did argue for a more conservative application of such principles. There were some, however, such as the Gestalt (Gestalt psychology) psychologists, who called for a total rejection of associationism so far as higher mental processes were concerned.Associationist theories as all-embracing explanatory principles in psychology have received considerable criticism. Currently very few, if any, psychologists accord these theories the range and power once claimed for them. Many will agree, however, that association remains an important and effective principle that is active in all instances of learning through accumulated experience.
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