Vito D. P. Servedio

2012

Advances in Complex Systems 15(03n04):1250054, 2012

We investigate the directed and weighted complex network of free word associations in which players write a word in response to another word given as input. We analyze in details two large datasets resulting from two very different experiments: On the one hand the massive ...MORE ⇓

We investigate the directed and weighted complex network of free word associations in which players write a word in response to another word given as input. We analyze in details two large datasets resulting from two very different experiments: On the one hand the massive multiplayer web-based Word Association Game known as Human Brain Cloud, and on the other hand the South Florida Free Association Norms experiment. In both cases, the networks of associations exhibit quite robust properties like the small world property, a slight assortativity and a strong asymmetry between in-degree and out-degree distributions. A particularly interesting result concerns the existence of a characteristic scale for the word association process, arguably related to specific conceptual contexts for each word. After mapping, the Human Brain Cloud network onto the WordNet semantics network, we point out the basic cognitive mechanisms underlying word associations when they are represented as paths in an underlying semantic network. We derive in particular an expression describing the growth of the HBC graph and we highlight the existence of a characteristic scale for the word association process.

2005

Can simple models explain Zipf's law in all cases?PDF

Glottometrics 11:1-8, 2005

H. Simon proposed a simple stochastic process for explaining Zipf's law for word frequencies. Here we introduce two similar generalizations of Simon's model that cover the same range of exponents as the standard Simon model. The mathematical approach followed minimizes the amount ...MORE ⇓

H. Simon proposed a simple stochastic process for explaining Zipf's law for word frequencies. Here we introduce two similar generalizations of Simon's model that cover the same range of exponents as the standard Simon model. The mathematical approach followed minimizes the amount of mathematical background needed for deriving the exponent, compared to previous approaches to the standard Simon's model. Reviewing what is known from other simple explanations of Zipf's law, we conclude there is no single radically simple explanation covering the whole range of variation of the exponent of Zipf's law in humans. The meaningfulness of Zipf's law for word frequencies remains an open question.