Association: a functional relationship between psychological phenomena of such nature that the presence of one tends to evoke the other; also, the process by which such a relationship is established. (MeSH) The action of joining or uniting for a common purpose. Mental connection between related ideas. The brain’s ability to store, retain, and recall information by relating it to other like memories. (Tokuhama-Espinosa, 278) Bound together in the mind. In order for two stimuli to become associated, the neural representations of the the two events have to meet up in the brain. (LeDoux, 135) Memory almost always follows a pathway of association. (Hawkins, 71) Also referred to as ‘associative memory’ and 'linkage.'


Associate: join, combine things together. Connect as an idea with. (Oxford) Adverb - associative. Editor’s note - "associate" synonyms include ‘link,’  ‘match,’ and ‘connect.’

Association Drivers: the more aspects to it that a memory has, the more useful it becomes and the easier it is to retrieve, because each aspect gives a separate ‘handle’ by which to yank out the full memory from storage. For example: 1) tasting some tannin in a glass of wine creates a ‘taste memory’ only; 2) seeing the word ‘tannin’ on the description in the wine-tasting menu creates a ‘word-memory’ only; 3) tasting the tannin in the wine around the time you see the word, creates a memory that includes both the taste and a ‘label’ for it and makes (the association) stronger. The connections between neurons are strengthened by repeated firings caused by multiple sensory inputs. (Carter, 161)

Clustering: organizing items into related groups, or clusters, during recall. (Hockenbury, 228)

Category Linkage: things are linked to the categories in which they belong. For example, ‘banana’ to ‘fruit.’ (Hockenbury, 228)

Feelings Linkage: once established, emotional habits and patterns of expectation and rewards are difficult to eradicate. Once we have a thought connected to a feeling of correctness, it’s hard to undo. (CampbellVA, 254)

Key Concept Linkage: a group of objects, symbols, or events that share common characteristics. (Marshall, 11/17/2011) A mental category of objects or ideas based on properties they share. (Hockenbury, 263) A unit of knowledge created by a unique combination of characteristics. (NCIt) An internal representation of something. For example, we may understand the concept of honesty if we can somehow represent that idea to ourselves. (Cardwell, 54) Also referred to as ‘concept.’

Exemplars: the model, pattern, or original after which something is made. A typical instance. (Oxford) Individual instances of a concept or category, held in memory. (Hockenbury, 264)

Formal Concept: a mental category that is formed by learning the rules or features that define it. (Hockenbury, 263)

Natural Concept: a mental category that is formed as a result of everyday experience. (Hockenbury, 263)

Schema: a general … concept, or a group of related pieces of information. Like a file folder containing a set of similar pieces of information. For example, a ‘tool schema’ is likely to encompass these concepts: hammer, screwdriver, wrench, drill, etc. (Bamford, 11/30/10) An organized cluster of information about a particular topic. (Hockenbury, 240) Information defining the characteristics of various concepts (such as people, places, events), as well as how those characteristics are related to each other. (McCornack, 81) Plural - ‘schemata.’

Script: a “schema” for the typical sequence of an everyday event, such as eating in a restaurant or taking a plane trip. (Hockenbury, 240)

Property Linkage: things are linked to their properties. For example, ‘lime’ to ‘green.’ (Hockenbury, 228)

Associative Activation: ideas that have been evoked trigger many other ideas, in a spreading cascade of activity in the brain. (Kahneman, 51)

Associative Learning: a form of learning in which the mere exposure to two phenomena that always occur together (such as ‘Cinderella’ and 'her carriage') leads subsequently to one of the two things spontaneously evoking the memory of the other. Often invoked, incorrectly, as an explanation of “synesthesia.” (RamachandranTTB, 295)

Principles of Association: (set of association categories coined) in 1748 by Scottish philosopher David Hume. (Kahneman, 52)

Causality: the causing or producing of an effect. (Oxford) The principle that a relationship exists between a primary entity A, or cause, and the occurrence of a secondary entity B, or effect. (NCIt) Causes are termed necessary when they must always precede an effect and sufficient when they initiate or produce an effect. (MeSH) Causes are linked to their effects. For example, ‘virus’ is linked to ‘colds.’  (Hockenbury, 228) Also referred to ‘cause and effect.’

Contiguity (in time or place): close proximity. The proximity of ideas or impressions in place or time. (Oxford) Adjective - contiguous.

Resemblance: the quality or fact of being like or similar in appearance, nature, etc., a likeness, a similarity. (Oxford)